Child cruelty and neglect offences in the UK have doubled over the last five years, the NSPCC has revealed. There were 16,939 child cruelty and neglect offences recorded by police in 2017/18, up from 7,965 in 2012/13.
Reports to the police included extreme cases of when a parent or carer deliberately neglected, assaulted, abandoned or exposed their child to serious harm.
The amount of police offences is mirrored by the number of calls made to the NSPCC helpline – totalling 19,937 last year about children suffering neglect - with three quarters referred to police or children’s services.
Last year, there were 27,856 children in the UK on a child protection plan or register for concerns involving neglect.
Unclear why numbers are up
Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC said: “It’s unclear exactly why the number of child neglect and cruelty offences has risen so dramatically, but greater public awareness and improvements in how police record offences could be factors, along with deeper societal issues."
To raise awareness of child neglect – the most common type of abuse affecting children in the UK - the NSPCC has launched its ‘Light For Every Childhood’ Christmas Appeal.
On Monday, the Houses of Parliament and BT Tower become the latest UK landmarks to show their support by lighting up in the charity’s trademark green.