Recorded Northamptonshire child cruelty and neglect offences up by 182 cases in one year
In Northamptonshire, there has been an increase of 61% in police reports since 2019
In Northamptonshire, the number of child cruelty and neglect offences are have risen by 61% in just one year, the NSPCC is reporting today (Wednesday).
Between 2013 and 2014, 30 crimes were recorded in Northamptonshire, which has risen to 479 cases reported to the county force between 2019 and 2020.
The NSPCC has releasing new analysis of police data for the whole of the UK, which reveals that there were 23,529 offences recorded by forces in 2019/20.
The NSPCC is encouraging the public to look out for signs of abuse and speak up if they are concerned about a child, which include untreated injuries, medical and dental issues, having unwashed clothes and recurring illnesses or infections.
Northamptonshire Police has said there are more cases reported in the past year because more police officers are encouraging the public to report child cruelty.
A Northamptonshire Police spokesman said: "We have made additional efforts to look proactively for incidents of neglect in this county and the figures reflect this in respect of what we are recording and investigating.
"When we are in our communities fighting crime, we are more often in a position to find vulnerable people and incidences of neglect - which we will always record - in line with our core force mission of fighting crime and protecting people.
"We are doing that to increase public confidence, particularly with those who are most vulnerable, so they are more inclined to report neglect to us, and be confident we will take it seriously and either investigate a crime, or work with partners in respect of an intervention or early help opportunity."
While not every police-recorded offence leads to a prosecution or child protection outcome, each represents a significant concern raised to the police about a child.
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.
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.
The spokesman added: "Northamptonshire Police strives to prevent neglect before it happens and having a true picture of its extent and where it is happening is critical to this.
"We have recently invested additional funding and resources into our multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH). In addition, thanks to funding from the PFCC Stephen Mold, we have created the MADRA, a new triage service to improve our response to children impacted by domestic abuse, to ensure we recognise, record and deal with neglect appropriately.
"This is a very positive outcome for us in respect of the true picture of vulnerability in our county and raising confidence in how we police it and we continue to work very closely with partners around instances of child and adult neglect."
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.
"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."