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Child cruelty offences jump by 25 per cent in a single year

Child cruelty and neglect offences increased by a quarter last year as the country emerged from the pandemic, according to figures released by NSPCC.

A Freedom of Information request submitted by the children's charity to police forces in England has revealed that there were 26,307 offences recorded in 2021/22 – an average of 72 a day – which is a 25 per cent rise from last year.

NSPCC experts warned at the start of the pandemic that an increase in stressors to parents and caregivers, coupled with an increase in children's vulnerability, and a disruption in normal protective services would lead to an increased risk of abuse.

The charity says that the new data reinforce the need for a reset of the child protection system. The NSPCC wants to see children's social care in England focused on early intervention, with children at its heart and, above all, political leadership from the very top of Government.