William Eichler 08 December 2023

Cruelty to children doubles in five years

Cruelty to children doubles in five years image
Image: 271 EAK MOTO / Shutterstock.com.

The number of reported cases of children in England being subjected to cruelty or neglect has doubled in the last five years, a children’s charity has warned.

An analysis by NSPCC of freedom of information data from police forces in England has found there were 29,405 offences recorded between April 2022 and March 2023.

This represents an increase from 14,263 offences recorded between April 2017 and March 2018.

NSPCC chief executive Sir Peter Wanless said: ‘These latest child cruelty figures are a stark wake-up call that our current system is struggling to prevent the horrifying abuse and neglect happening to some of the youngest and most vulnerable in our society.’

The child protection system has been under increasing pressure over the last few years. In 2022/23, more than 655,000 child in need assessments were completed by children's social care to determine whether a child needs support from a service.

England's largest councils have also reported that they are overspending on their budgets by £600m due to 'uncontrollable' spending pressures driving up the cost of delivering services to vulnerable children.

The NSPCC warned this is straining the child protection system, leaving those who work with families unequipped to adequately respond when things reach crisis point.

‘The Government has pledged to reform the child protection system to provide earlier support for babies, children and young people and stop families’ problems escalating to crisis point. The figures underline why it is urgent that these changes are delivered at pace alongside significant investment,’ Sir Peter added.

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