The NSPCC is calling for donations to its Christmas appeal to ensure it can be there for children in need over the holiday period
Child cruelty and neglect offences in the UK have doubled over the last five years, the NSPCC has revealed.
There were 16,939 child cruelty and neglect offences recorded by police across the UK in 2017/18, up from 7,965 in 2012/13.
In Scotland, there were 640 offences recorded in 2017/2018.
Last month the charity’s NSPCC’s Helpline revealed that in 2017/2018 they handled nearly 20,000 calls about child neglect and 918 of those child neglect cases were referred to local agencies in Scotland.
Reports to the police included extreme cases of when a parent or carer wilfully assaulted, ill-treated, neglected, abandoned or exposed their child to serious harm.
To raise awareness of child neglect – the most common type of abuse affecting children in the UK – the NSPCC has launched its Light For Every Childhood Christmas Appeal.
Last night (Mon 3 Dec), the Houses of Parliament and BT Tower become the latest UK landmarks to show their support by lighting up in the charity’s trademark green.
One NSPCC helpline practitioner recalls a recent referral she made to the police.
Tracey Hamer, NSPCC helpline practitioner said: “The police went out to do a welfare check, and later told me that mum had been found unwell and violently vomiting and unable to care for her little girl, who was 3 years old.
“The house was in a state of disrepair and the kitchen worktops were covered in dirty crockery with mould on them. The washing machine was broken, and mum said that water would come up through the pipes when she tried to use it so she couldn’t clean any clothes."
Recorded police offences of this type reveal only a small part of the picture as social workers work with families when parents cannot meet the needs of their child, and put a plan in place to prevent issues from escalating.
Last year there were 27,856 children in the UK on a child protection plan or register for concerns involving neglect – 951 of these children were from Scotland.
The NSPCC Christmas appeal is calling for donations to its helpline – which is open throughout the holidays – so it can be there for children suffering from neglect at Christmas and all year round.
Joanna Barrett, policy and public affairs manager for NSPCC Scotland said: “Neglect can have severe and long-lasting consequences for children, and can also be an indicator of other forms of abuse. This is why it’s so important for anyone suspecting a child of being neglected to contact the NSPCC Helpline, so we can alert the authorities to quickly step in and help those in need.
“We are appealing to the generous nature of the public to support our Light For Every Childhood Christmas Appeal to help us be there for even more young people in need.”
Just £5 pays for the Helpline to answer a call about child neglect, to donate visit the NSPCC website.
Adults concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC Helpline seven days a week on 0808 800 5000, or email [email protected]