Neglect remains the most reported incident
NSPCC Scotland has today released research that paints a worrying picture of the abuse and neglect faced by children.
In 2021/22, the NSPCC’s Helpline for adults made 897 referrals about abuse and neglect to agencies in Scotland – an average of two a day.
The most common reason for the charity’s practitioners to escalate their concerns in Scotland was neglect, with 272 referrals being made for this concern.
Across the UK last year, the Helpline made 22,983 referrals to agencies about children thought to be experiencing abuse and neglect - an average of 63 children a day.
The NSPCC Helpline receives contacts from the public and professionals who have safeguarding fears about a child. The charity will refer these on to statutory agencies when serious enough to do so, whilst offering advice and assistance in all cases.
The charity is also releasing analysis that sets out the scale and breadth of this issue, estimating that half a million children a year suffer abuse in the UK. That means 7 children in a classroom experience abuse before they turn 18.
This comes as the NPSCC launches Childhood Day, the charity’s flagship day of fundraising and action that brings everyone in the UK together to protect children.
Emma Frost, who was abused as a child, is calling on everyone to support the NSPCC’s Childhood Day, so that the charity can continue to take vital calls via the Helpline.
She said: “I was the eldest of seven siblings and grew up in a chaotic household. I was subjected to emotional and physical torment and made to believe that I was saying, thinking and doing things I wasn’t. I spent four years in care.
“My father abused me from a young age and in 2011, he was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. I wish someone, at some point, had picked up the phone and called the NSPCC Helpline. I would have got the right help a lot earlier and it wouldn’t have done as much damage.
“The NSPCC is just as important now as it was when I was a little girl. Whatever else is going on, it’s vital we all play our part for children suffering abuse.”
Sir Peter Wanless, NSPCC CEO said: “In light of the recent tragic cases, the NSPCC is emphasising how important it is that we challenge ourselves to do all we can to protect children from harm.
“As well as the Scottish Government playing a leading role in this fight, we know that strong communities can help to keep children safe, with thousands of individual people playing their part and doing what’s right. That’s why we created Childhood Day – a day that brings everyone in the UK together to make child protection a top priority.”
At the start of next month, the NSPCC will launch its Childhood Day TV Appeal. The advert, which will go out on TV from the 2nd May, sees a member of the public contact the NSPCC helpline with concerns about a three-year-old boy who is experiencing physical and emotional abuse at the hands of his mother.
A voiceover from actress and NSPCC supporter Natalie Dormer says "This Childhood Day donate £20 and help us keep answering the calls that can stop abuse. Search NSPCC to donate now.”
Caroline Renton, Supporter Fundraising Manager, NSPCC Scotland said: "We’re encouraging people in local communities across Scotland to get involved and have fun this Childhood Day. Whether you hold your own play-themed fundraising event or sign up to volunteer at one of our Childhood Day street collections across the country, every pound you raise will help to keep children safe."