More resources are needed to deal with a huge increase child abuse, council leaders have demanded.
A report by the NSPCC revealed that the number of children being reported as victims of emotional abuse has soared by 200% in seven years.
But it warned that the full scale of the problem could be much greater and said the government should commission a nationwide study to find out how prevalent it is.
NSPCC chief executive, Peter Wanless, said: 'The huge increase in people recognising and reporting emotional abuse to our Helpline indicates people are willing to take action, but the disturbing truth is that the UK has no idea how many other children are suffering from emotional abuse or in fact, any type of abuse.
'We urgently need Government to step in now, before another eight years go by, and commission a study that gives us the clearest possible picture of the extent of child abuse and neglect in the UK.'
Cllr Richard Watts, chair of the LGA’s Children and Young People Board, said a study would be a helpful step but warned that cuts in resources meant children’s services were ‘becoming rapidly unsustainable’.
He said a funding gap of £2bn was projected by 2020 despite a 140% increase in child protection enquiries In the last 10 years.
Government cuts of almost £400m since 2013 to the early intervention grant meant councils could not afford to withdraw services for children in immediate need of protection to invest in early help instead.
Cllr Watts said: ‘With pressures facing children’s services becoming rapidly unsustainable, we are calling on the Government to ensure that councils have the funding they need to tackle the early stages of abuse and keep children and young people safe in the years to come.’