Child cruelty and neglect offences in Leicestershire have trebled
Child cruelty and neglect offences in Leicestershire and Northamptonshire have rocketed, new figures show.
The number of cases recorded by Leicestershire Police has more than trebled from 37 in 2013/14 to 115 in 2018/19.
In total, 356 cruelty and neglect offences have been dealt with by the force since 2013/14.
And the number of similar reports investigated by Northamptonshire Police has spiralled almost 10 times from 30 in 2013/14 to a stunning 296 in 2018/19.
Crimes against children across the Harborough district is part of a shocking trend repeated all over the country.
An NSPCC spokesman said: “Recorded child cruelty and neglect offences in the UK continue to soar with crimes increasing by nearly a fifth in the last year alone.
“The charity has analysed police data for the whole of the UK over the last five years and found child cruelty and neglect offences has risen every year.”
Reports to police included extreme cases of when parents or carers deliberately neglected, assaulted, abandoned or exposed their child to serious harm and unnecessary suffering.
“There are several potential reasons for the rise in child cruelty and neglect crimes.
“They range from better police recording, increasing pressure on families and cuts in funding making it harder for local authorities to offer early intervention services that tackle the causes of neglect,” said the charity’s spokesman.
He warned the real story behind the grim statistics could be even worse.
“Recorded police offences of this type don’t reveal the full picture of neglect in the UK because local authorities will step in before many of these cases are reported as a crime,” he said.
“In 2017/18 there were 29,113 children in the UK on a child protection plan or register for concerns involving neglect.”
Peter Wanless, the NSPCC’s chief executive, said: “To see year after year the number of neglect and cruelty offences rise so dramatically is disturbing.
“Greater public awareness and improvements in police recording could be factors in this continuous increase.
“But deeper societal issues such as increasing pressure on parents and a lack of investment in early intervention services are leaving more children vulnerable and exposed to pain and suffering.”
Mr Wanless added: “Whatever the reasons for the rise cruelty to children is never OK.
“It’s vital children always have a place they can go to seek help and support, day and night.
“Childline never stops and never sleeps.
“But for this to continue we need the public’s support and to back our ‘Light for Every Childhood’ Appeal.”
The NSPCC Christmas Appeal is urging people to dig deep so it can support neglected and abused youngsters all year round.
The charity’s Childline hotline is the only service there for children 24/7 across Christmas and New Year.
Just £3 pays for Childline to answer a call with a neglected, abused or traumatised child.
To help please visit the NSPCC website: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-you-can-do/make-a-donation/Adults worried about a child can contact the NSPCC helpline seven days a week on 0808 800 5000 or email [email protected]