William Eichler 22 June 2016

Child cruelty at highest level in a decade

Recorded child cruelty offences are the highest they have been in a decade, children’s charity warns.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has released a report revealing a 75% rise in child cruelty and neglect cases recorded by police over the last 10 years.

The study, entitled How safe are our children?, shows 8,506 child cruelty and neglect offences were recorded by police in England in 2014-15, compared with 4,855 in 2005-06.

The charity said it is unsure why the figures have risen dramatically, but suggests it could be down to greater public awareness or improvements in the way police record offences.

Neglect is one of the most common offences. The NSPCC revealed it is a factor in 60% of serious case reviews and it is the main concern in 45% of child protection plans in England.

‘Neglect is the most common form of abuse in the UK and can wreak havoc on a child’s brain development, emotional well-being, ability to form relationships, and mental health,’ NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said.

‘These children are more likely to suffer from depression and post-traumatic disorder, and even suicidal thoughts. For some, neglect can be fatal.’

Figures from the University of Central Lancashire show one in every five children in England are referred to social services due to concerns over abuse or neglect.

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