Dramatic rise in child cruelty and neglect in Northamptonshire
Recorded cases of child cruelty and neglect have increased nearly 10-fold in just five years.
Police data analysed by the charity NSPCC shows that Northamptonshire Police recorded 30 offences of child cruelty and neglect in 2013/14 but 296 crimes were recorded in 2018/19.
The NSPCC, which stands for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, said: "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."
Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC, said: "To see year after year the number of neglect and cruelty offences rise so dramatically is disturbing."
The rise in child cruelty and neglect has been seen across the whole UK. The number of recorded crimes of this type has almost doubled over the same time.
There were 20,024 cases of child cruelty and neglect recorded by police in the UK in 2018/19 compared to 9,518 crimes in 2013/14.
The rise in Northamptonshire is greater than this national average, but the NSPCC said there could be a number of reasons why.
Mr Wanless said: "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."
The NSPCC said the cuts to funding makes it harder for local authorities to offer early intervention services that can tackle the causes of neglect.
The charity also added that the figures will still not reveal the extent of child cruelty.
The NSPCC said: "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.
"In 2017/18 there were 29,113 children in the UK on a child protection plan or register for concerns involving neglect."
In response to the increase in child cruelty and neglect, the NSPCC is launching its Light For Every Childhood Christmas Appeal.
The NSPCC is asking for donations to ensure it can be there for children suffering neglect and abuse at Christmas and all year round.
The charity run the helpline Childline 24/7, which it says is the only service there for children at all times over Christmas.
Mr Wanless said: "Whatever the reasons for the rise, cruelty to children is never ok, it is vital that 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 say a £3 donation pays for Childline to answer a call with a neglected or abused child.
Donations can be made via the NSPCC website.
Anyone concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000 or email [email protected]