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Child cruelty offences in England highest in a decade

Rise of 75% in offences recorded by police in last ten years

Child cruelty and neglect cases recorded by police have risen by 75% in the last decade according to NSPCC's annual overview of child abuse and protection data, How safe are our children?

There were 8,506 child cruelty and neglect offences recorded by police in England in 2014-15, compared with 4,855 in 2005-06.

NSPCC says that it is unclear why the figures have risen so dramatically, but greater public awareness and improvements in how police record offences could be factors.

The Children's Commissioner for England, Anne Longfield commented:

"This rise in reported neglect is concerning and I will be investigating the reasons behind it in the coming months. Children who have been abused or neglected are often deeply traumatised and this can have a lasting and damaging effect into adulthood if they don't get the right kind of mental health support needed to start rebuilding their lives. Our recent research into children's mental health found many young people, some with life-threatening conditions, were unable to access a local mental health service or faced long waits."   

The Local Government Association said:

"Thanks to reports from all corners of the community and the hard work of social workers, the police and others, the number of children dying due to homicide or assault has fallen by 69 per cent in England since 1985 and remains in long-term decline. We can never be complacent when it comes to the safety of children and young people, and it is right that poor practice is highlighted and improvement demanded where necessary. However, we must take care that in our rush to improve, we don't lose sight of the unreported excellence of the vast majority of social workers, whose tough decisions and swift actions are saving children's lives every day."

The report is here.