True impact of Covid-19 lockdown on child abuse calls revealed

Children are under an increased chance of being abused during lockdown says the NSPCC Picture: Tom H

Children are under an increased chance of being abused during lockdown says the NSPCC Picture: Tom Hull - Credit: Archant

Concerns about child cruelty and neglect are rising in Suffolk after it was revealed that offences recorded by the police increased by 40pc last year.

A study released by the NSPCC showed that there were 139 reports of abuse made to Suffolk Constabulary during the 2019/20 financial year - the highest level in seven years.

During the months of the first lockdown alone 65 of these crimes were recorded in the county.

Only eight reports were made in the same period last year.

Across the whole of the UK, 23,529 offences recorded by forces in 2019/20, an increase of 53% in the last three years.

The charity also confirmed that during the spring lockdown, an average of 50 children a day turned to Childline after suffering abuse, with counselling sessions about this issue increasing by 22% compared with pre-lockdown levels.

Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC said: “The pandemic is the greatest challenge we’ve faced in decades and these figures are yet another example of its impact on vulnerable children.

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“They also provide a heart-breaking picture of the concern about the number of young people who were exposed to pain and suffering following the start of the pandemic.

“This year it is even more essential that children have a place where they can seek help and support. Our Childline service will be running every day over the Christmas holidays, but we need the public’s support so we can ensure vulnerable children are heard.”

The NSPCC has issued the findings as part of a warning that children may be at risk of abuse this Christmas and that everyone needs to play their part in keeping young people safe.

To raise awareness of child neglect and abuse this Christmas, a number of iconic UK landmarks including Battersea Power Station will turn green from December 7, supporting the NSPCC’s Here for Children Christmas Appeal. The charity has also launched a new TV appeal which depicts some of the heart-breaking abuse contacts the NSPCC run service Childline expects to take in the Christmas holidays.

The NSPCC is also urging the Government to ensure that a comprehensive recovery plan is put in place that sees children get the help they need in the short and long term, including investment in support for victims before, during and after the criminal justice process.