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How safe are our children? NSPCC releases annual child protection overview report

The NSPCC has released its latest annual report today giving an overview of child protection in the United Kingdom. The 84-page report contains statistics and information on the rise and fall of child protection incidences such as child sexual exploitation, neglect and emotional abuse, using data from a variety of sources including police records.

The new report highlights key findings throughout, as well as including a timeline of important moments in child protection during recent years, and listing a glossary of common words and phrases used when referring to child protection, both in and outside of this report.

There is evidence contained in the report to suggest that child homicide is in long-term decline. The report also states that suicide rates for 15 to 19-year-olds in England and Wales have started to rise after years in decline. Their findings reveal that offences relating to indecent images are increasing across the UK, and the proportion of UK children on a child protection plan or register is higher now than it was a decade ago, despite government cuts to funding for early help and prevention.

Other parts of the report reveal that there was a 30 per cent increase in the number of suspected trafficked children referred between 2015 and 2016. Also worryingly, between 17 and 22 per cent of children put on a child protection plan or register in 2015/16 had been on one before.

The report aims to deliver a comprehensive overview of the current status of child protection in the United Kingdom, drawing on data from multiple agencies, however, the Chief Executive writes at the start of the report:

“While at the NSPCC we do have some important insights, we don’t pretend to have all the answers… It also isn’t enough to simply know the numbers of reported cases of children being abused or neglected – we need to understand the full scale of maltreatment… That’s why there’s an urgent need for the UK Government to commission a new nationwide study that looks at the prevalence of all forms of abuse and neglect.”

The report is publicly available and can be accessed via the NSPCC website.