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News code: 26570
Published Date: Wednesday 5 December 2018 - 12:38:36
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Child cruelty, neglect offences double in UK, figures show

Child cruelty, neglect offences double in UK, figures show
World  - Child cruelty and neglect offences in the UK have doubled over the past five years in the UK, new figures show.

figures show.

Campaigners say almost 17,000 cases reported to police in the year to March represent just a "fraction" of children being abused.

There were 16,939 child cruelty and neglect offences recorded by police in 2017-18, up from 7,965 in 2012-13, the NSPCC said, Independent reported.

The charity's helpline also received 19,937 calls last year about children suffering neglect, with three quarters referred urgently to police or children's services.

Tracey Hamer, a helpline practitioner, described one incident where police found a mother seriously ill and unable to care for her three-year-old daughter.

"The house was in a state of disrepair and the kitchen worktops were covered in dirty crockery with mould on them," she added. "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 offences reveal only a fraction of neglect cases because social workers try to step in at an earlier stage if parents cannot meet the needs of their child, the NSPCC said.

Last year there were 27,856 children in the UK on a child protection plan or registered for concerns involving neglect.

Police define an offence of child cruelty and neglect where a parent or carer "wilfully assault, ill-treats, neglects, abandons or exposes a child under 16 in a manner likely to cause them unnecessary suffering or injury to health".

Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC, said: "It's unclear exactly why the number of child neglect and cruelty offences has risen so dramatically, but greater public awareness and improvements in how police record offences could be factors, along with deeper societal issues. Whatever the reasons for the increase in child neglect there is something we can all do about it now, we need to be aware of vulnerable children and be ready to report it to the NSPCC or the authorities if we are concerned for their safety or wellbeing. "

The charity said signs to look out for included children with poor appearance and hygiene, living in dirty homes or without heating, untreated injuries, medical and dental issues, hunger and poor communication skills.

Its warning came as Sajid Javid revealed that separate child sexual abuse offences have risen by 206 per cent in the past five years.

"Sadly the amount of abuse we're seeing is increasing year by year," the home secretary told MPs

"To give a sense of that, in terms of all child sexual offences there was a 23 per cent increase in the year to March 2018 and, compared to 2013, there was a 206 per cent increase.

"The good news is there's much more work and effort going into this and each month there are about 400 arrests and about 500 children safeguarded."

Conservative MP Phillip Hollobone asked Mr. Javid to set out a maximum penalty for online child grooming and how many convictions had been secured.

The shadow security minister, Nick Thomas-Symonds, accused the home secretary of overseeing a reduction in online security in the government's draft Brexit deal.

The Labor MP said the political declaration championed by the government on security did not make reference to vital European databases that are used to track paedophiles and other criminals.

"It has not identified exactly what our relationship with Europol or Euro just is going to be and we only have vague promises on maintaining the benefits of the European Arrest Warrant," Mr. Thomas-Symonds added.

"When will this Government actually act to stop the diminishing of our ability to tackle crime?"

Mr. Javid said negotiations over continued access to the Schengen Information System and European Criminal Records Information System were ongoing.

"We have reached agreement with the EU on future security cooperation, or example on things like passenger name records and DNA and other databases," he added.

 

News Code: 26570
Published Date: Wednesday 5 December 2018 - 12:38:36
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