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New South Wales - Glossary Term

Neglected Child

'Neglect' was a broad term that varied depending on the legislation applicable at the time. As a result, it can be hard to tell what the word 'neglected' means in government and church records. The first categories of 'neglect' in the laws of New South Wales included being found begging, wandering, living with thieves or prostitutes or classified as 'uncontrollable'. They could be impoverished, hungry or victims of abuse or other criminal actions. Truancy was also cause for establishing neglect.


In some instances, a boarding out officer or probation officer or Aborigines Protection Board inspector made an assessment that the child was neglected, on the basis of a moral or other judgement of the child's family.

Children were 'charged' with neglect, in the Children's Court, until 1969.


Online Resources

Prepared by: Naomi Parry