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Child cruelty and neglect offences up by 53%

During the first three months of lockdown, police recorded 5,478 child cruelty and neglect offences.

With figures rising over the past three years, the NSPCC is highlighting the risk that children may face this Christmas, and asking everyone to play their part in keeping young people safe.

The charity said its analysis of police data revealed that there were 23,529 recorded offences over the 12-month period between 2019 and 2020.

Although there are significant variations between different regions and nations, the NSPCC is concerned about this increase in child cruelty and neglect and its overall rise of 53% during the past three years.

The charity also examined the impact of lockdown on children and families. It said frontline teams became concerned that increased vulnerability, the challenges of safeguarding remotely and wider pressures on families may have increased the risks of abuse and neglect.

During the spring lockdown, an average of 50 children a day turned to Childline after suffering abuse, with counselling sessions about this issue increasing by 22% compared with pre-lockdown levels.

In the first three months of the spring lockdown, 5,476 child cruelty and neglect offences were recorded by police from 1 April to the 30 June this year.

But the police say even that is not the full picture of what children may have experienced during those months. Not every police-recorded offence leads to a prosecution or child protection outcome, each represents a significant concern raised to the police about a child.

As part of its Christmas appeal, NSPCC is calling on the public to donate £20 so it can still be here for children during the holidays.

The charity is also urging the government to ensure that a comprehensive recovery plan is put in place to see that children get the help they need in the short and long term. This would include investment in support for victims before, during and after the criminal justice process.

Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC said: ‘The pandemic is the greatest challenge we’ve faced in decades and these figures are yet another example of its impact on vulnerable children.

‘They also provide a heart-breaking picture of the concern about the number of young people who were exposed to pain and suffering following the start of the pandemic.

‘This year it is even more essential that children have a place where they can seek help and support. Our Childline service will be running every day over the Christmas holidays, but we need the public’s support so we can ensure vulnerable children are heard.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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