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NSPCC helpline receives 50 calls about neglect each day

Child neglect is the main reason for calls to the helpline

Referrals about 18,345 neglected children were made to social services or police in 2012/13 following calls to the NSPCC free, 24-hour helpline. These figures are from a new NSPCC report – Helpline highlight 2012/13: More people speaking out to protect children.

NSPCC says that around one third of all contacts to the helpline – by phone, email or text – were about neglect. This has been the main area of concern for the last seven years.

Almost half of the referrals were made about children under five.

John Cameron, NSPCC head of child protection operations, said:

"The deaths of Daniel Pelka and Hamzah Khan were obviously at the most severe end of neglect.

"But there are thousands of other children who are suffering and many of whom are not old enough to go to school.

"We know when things are financially tough it can lead to greater stress which means more cases come to the attention of already over-stretched social services.

"One way in which we can all protect children and prevent abuse from happening is to share information.

"We want to support and advise anyone working with children and enable them to take urgent action when necessary.

"It's extremely worrying that half of our referrals involve children under five, including babies, who rely on adults to speak out on their behalf.

"It's encouraging that people feel they have a responsibility for vulnerable children and are acting to report their concerns.

"We urge the public and professionals to continue to act on their instincts when they feel something could be wrong, not wait until they are certain."

In all, there were 50,989 contacts from the public who were worried about children's welfare. This is an increase of 15% on last year.

During 2012-13 more than 91,000 children were protected from abuse following calls to the helpline. Calls sometimes involve more than one child.

The NSPCC report can be read here.