Number of children reported as being left home alone increases by almost half

News. Photo: Shutterstock SUS-150807-174846001
News. Photo: Shutterstock SUS-150807-174846001

The number of children being left home alone has increased by almost half over the last 12 months.

Last year the NSPCC’s 24-hour helpline made 58 referrals to local agencies after receiving calls and emails from members of the public.

That was up from 41 referrals made a year earlier.

Although the law does not give a minimum age at which children can be left on their own, parents and carers can be prosecuted for neglect if children are put at risk of suffering or injury.

Worried callers have reported children being left alone overnight and young children left to feed themselves and use dangerous kitchen equipment.

Adults can contact the helpline 24 hours a day on 0808 800 5000.