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Twenty per cent of children suffer abuse or neglect

Published: 24.04.13

One in five children has experienced serious physical abuse, sexual abuse or severe physical or emotional neglect at some point in their lifetime the NSPCC has claimed.
Twenty per cent of children suffer abuse or neglect

The ‘How safe are our children’ report released by the charity found that the public is becoming more vigilant, with the NSPCC recording a 40 per cent increase in the number of people reporting their concerns about abuse and neglect. However, new threats to children’s safety are emerging, particularly with the increasing amount of time children spend online. Even though there has been an increase in the number of children being made subject to child protection plans or registers, the report concludes that:

"for every child subject to a child protection plan or on a child protection register in the UK, we estimate that there are likely to be around eight other children who have suffered maltreatment."

The charity’s estimate was based on a range of indicators, including sex offences against children, youth suicide rates, calls to ChildLine, exposure to sexual images online and child protection plan data.

Nine risk factors were also identified in the report that the figures suggest are linked to child abuse and neglect. These include having parents with mental health problems, living in poverty, domestic violence, being in care and belonging to a black or mixed ethnic community.

While encouraging anyone with concerns about abuse or neglect to come forward, the NSPCC believe the current services available are unlikely to ever reach all children in such circumstances. Rather than focusing on increasing stretched services they want to find more effective ways to prevent abuse and neglect from occurring in the first place. This will require better understanding of the circumstances in which children are at increased risk of abuse and neglect and earlier and more effective intervention in such circumstances.

Read more about the effects of neglect and abuse on adopted children.

You can download a full copy of ‘How safe are our children’ by clicking here.

(Image credit: Ilya Andriyanov)