NSPCC refer 89 cases to Hampshire police of children left home alone

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NEARLY 90 cases of people worried about children being left home alone have been referred to the police.

In 2016/17 the NSPCC has reported 89 cases to police in Hampshire after getting calls and emails from members of the public.

With the summer holidays approaching, the charity revealed specialist counsellors on its 24-hour helpline made 89 referrals, up from 87 made in 2015/16.

There were also 13 calls and emails from people in Hampshire seeking advice about children being left home alone over the last two years.

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.

The NSPCC is warning that although a child may seem responsible enough to be left alone without supervision, parents and carers should think whether they would be able to cope with unexpected situations.

The charity’s chief executive Peter Wanless said: ‘Deciding if a child is ready to be left on their own can be a very difficult decision and the summer holidays can be a difficult time for parents and carers.

‘Children mature at their own rate so it’s important parents think carefully about what is right for their child.’

Guidance on the NSPCC website says children under 12 should not be left home alone, children under 16 should not be left overnight on their own and a child should never be left at home alone if they do not feel comfortable with it.