The number of child cruelty and neglect cases is at its highest level for a decade, a charity has claimed.
The NSPCC has revealed that 8,506 such offences were recorded by police in 2014-15. This represents a 75 per cent increase since 2005 when only 4,855 instances were reported. These numbers were included in a recently published report titled How Safe Are Our Children?
Scotland has been the only country in the UK which has not seen a rise in cruelty and neglect reports since 2011. During this time, increases of 46, 48 and 60 per cent were recorded in England, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively.
The charity said that it was unclear why there had been such a dramatic rise but suggested that an increased willingness of victims themselves to come forward and improvements in how police record offences could have been contributing factors.
In response, Children’s Commissioner for England Anne Longfield promised that she would investigate the reasons behind the steep rise in the coming months. Children in these situations “are often deeply traumatised and this can have a lasting and damaging effect into adulthood” if they don’t receive adequate mental health treatment, she said. However, research conducted by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner found that “many young people, some with life-threatening conditions, were unable to access a local mental health service or faced long waits”.
Despite the increases, the Local Government Association said it was important that people “don’t lose sight of the unreported excellence of the vast majority of social workers”.
Read How Safe Are Our Children? here.