03 Dec Local police in Essex record alarming rise in neglect figures in just one year
Concerns about child cruelty and neglect offences in the UK are continuing to rise with police recorded offences increasing by 53% in three years, the NSPCC reports.
The charity is today releasing new analysis of police data for the whole of the UK,
which reveals that there were 23,529 offences recorded by forces in 2019/20.
Although there are significant variations between different regions and nations, overall the analysis finds an increase of 53% compared to 2016/17, and more than double the total in 2013/14.
In Essex, the number of child cruelty and neglect offences varies considerably. From 2013/14, when 53 crimes were recorded, to 2019/20, 2048 offences have been logged in all, with 1342 last year.
During the months of the first lockdown alone (Quarter 1 force data) 447 of these crimes were recorded in Essex. That compares with 312 in the same period last year. This is despite overall crime falling across the UK during that period.
This NSPCC also examined the number of offences that took place in the first three months of the spring lockdown and found that 5,476 child cruelty and neglect offences were recorded by police from 1st April to the 30th June this year. Although a significant number, senior police have argued that this does not provide the full picture of what children may have experienced during those months.
While 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.
The NSPCC has issued the findings as part of a warning that children may be at risk of abuse this Christmas and that everyone needs to play their part in keeping young people safe.
To raise awareness of child neglect and abuse this Christmas, a number of iconic UK landmarks including Battersea Power Station will turn green from the 7th December, supporting the NSPCC’s Here for Children Christmas Appeal. The charity has also launched a new TV appeal which depicts some of the heart-breaking abuse contacts the NSPCC run service Childline expects to take in the Christmas holidays.
Over the last six months the NSPCC has been looking closely at the impact of lockdown – and its frontline teams are 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. As part of its new appeal, the charity is calling on the public to donate £20 to the NSPCC so that services like Childline can be here for children this Christmas.
Everyone has a role to play in keeping children safe. The charity is reminding adults that if they have concerns about a child’s welfare they can call the NSPCC helpline.
The NSPCC is also urging the Government to ensure that a comprehensive recovery plan is put in place that sees children get the help they need in the short and long term, including 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.”