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Children’s charity sees sharp rise in abuse cases

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​NSPCC Scotland dealt with almost 80% more serious emotional abuse cases last year

A national children’s charity has seen an “unprecedented” rise in the number of abuse cases so serious they have to be referred to police and social services.

NSPCC Scotland said it informed the authorities of 217 cases of emotional abuse of children – a 78% rise on the previous year's 122 cases.

This isn’t about parents who don’t buy their children the latest gadgets or trainers this is about parents who consistently deny their children love and affection - Matt Forde

Matt Forde, national head of service for NSPCC Scotland, called for more support for agencies to deal the additional pressure.

“This isn’t about parents who don’t buy their children the latest gadgets or trainers this is about parents who consistently deny their children love and affection,” he said.

“Abuse is not just physical but emotional, and people need to be alive to whether children’s emotional needs are being met. Failure to do so can have lifelong consequences."

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said the statistics were “heart-breaking” and added the recently passed Children and Young People Act sets out how seriously it takes the issue of children’s welfare.

What is emotional abuse?
Disciplining a child with degrading punishments
Pushing a child too hard or being too controlling
Exposing a child to distressing events
Not allowing a child to have friends
Persistently ignoring a child
Being absent
Never expressing positive feelings towards a child

Aileen Campbell, minister for children and young people, said: “A secure, loving and nurturing environment is integral to a child’s health, mental health and wellbeing.

“Helping children to develop the skills required to respond to life’s challenges will allow them to achieve their full potential.

“Statistics like these are heart-breaking, but they do demonstrate that more of us recognise the immense damage potentially caused by neglect and the steps we are taking to help if we suspect a child is suffering.”

The figures come as the charity revealed its helpline, which takes calls from adults who are worried about a child, is being contacted by more people than ever before.

More than 60,000 people from across the UK contacted the NSPCC helpline this year about a range of issues or concerns – an increase of 20% compared to last year.



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