The results of the Action for Children survey highlighted the difficulty of identifying and preventing the neglect of children.
The charity's chief executive, Clare Tickell, said child neglect represented a "real danger" to children.
The polling of other 1,000 adults revealed a hesitance among some to act on their suspicions, which can be harder to quantify compared to other starker forms of child abuse.
Leading the research, Professor Tony Long at Salford University said: "Unlike sexual or physical abuse, neglect is often overlooked and poorly understood."
Neglect was the leading reason why 45% of children in England were on the child protection register, a study by the Department for Children, Schools and Families found last year.
That compared to 15% for physical abuse, 7% for sexual abuse and 25% for emotional abuse.
Neglect involves a wide range of complex factors from children feeling that they are not loved, nourished, supported and clothed, to worrying that their home is not safe and secure.
Professor Long said the results of the survey "will inform Government policy, and have a major impact on the way children and their families are supported".
Mrs Tickell said Action for Children would now begin an investigation into the most effective ways to intervene early in cases of neglect.
Source: Sky News
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