Barriers that health visitors experience when identifying child neglect

Nicola Boyle, James Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Child neglect poses a significant issue in the United Kingdom (UK), with enduring repercussions for the health and well-being of affected children. Health visitors are responsible for safeguarding and promoting child welfare and play a pivotal role in identifying and addressing neglect. However, multitude barriers can hinder this.

This short article explores into the complex landscape of Health Visitors identifying child neglect, outlining the significance of early intervention in preventing neglect. Challenges faced by health visitors are examined, including organisational barriers, family/carer disguised compliance, and varying professional thresholds for when to intervene.

The importance of leadership support, enhanced training, and clear thresholds in safeguarding work are highlighted. Furthermore, the concept of "respectful uncertainty" is advocated as an approach for health visitors to navigate the challenges they encounter when protecting and promoting the well-being and safety of children in the UK.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Health Visiting
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2 Apr 2024


  • barriers
  • child neglect
  • health visitors
  • supervision
  • disguised compliance
  • thresholds


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