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Children's Services

Children home alone

There is no legal age limit for leaving a child on their own, but it is an offence to leave a child alone if it places them at risk.  Parents can be prosecuted for neglect if they leave a child unsupervised ‘in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to health’ (Children and Young Person’s Act).  Constantly leaving a child alone is classed as neglect, which is a form of child abuse.

Parents therefore need to give careful thought to the following before they leave their child alone:

The NSPCC also gives the following advice:

Parents should be advised that if a member of the public rings to report a child home alone, they will be referred to the Police who have powers of entry if necessary.  

There is further advice and information on the and NSPCC websites.  There is also an NSPCC leaflet PDF which summarises their advice.


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