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Child protection register statistics

April 2014

Our annual summary of child protection register statistics for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

There were 50,732 children on child protection registers or the subject of child protection plans in the UK as at 31 March 2013 (or 31 July 2013 in Scotland).

How many children are on a child protection register?

We produce an annual summary of the most up-to-date child protection register statistics for:

Please note:

  • the source of the full statistics is given for each region with a link to the full text of the original document. We recommend that you look at these for further information

  • the compilation methods of the statistics can change from year-to-year and from region-to-region, and so the figures are not always comparable.

What are child protection registers?

Child protection registers contain confidential details of children who are at continuing risk of physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect, and for whom there is a child protection plan.

Registers cover each local authority area in the UK and are managed by individual social services departments1.

In England a child protection register is no longer held but information is collected on children who are the subject of a child protection plan.

What can child protection register statistics tell us?

Child protection plans or child protection registrations are not a measure of the incidence of maltreatment but do give some indication of the scale of the problem by providing figures for the number of children who are judged to be at risk of significant harm. However, research indicates that abuse and neglect are both under-reported and under-recorded.

See our statistics page on the prevalence and incidence of child abuse and neglect.

Further reading

How to find, understand and use statistics about child abuse
A brief introduction to child abuse statistics.

Comparing child abuse statistics over time and between countries
Explains the issues around looking for trends in statistics over time, within the UK and internationally.


1. Each children's social care department holds details of all those children in the area who have been made subject to a child protection plan. The decision to make a child subject to a child protection plan takes place at an initial child protection conference and this action is taken if the child is at continuing risk of significant harm.  It should be emphasised that the primary purpose of holding information about children who have been made subject to a child protection plan is to assist in the protection of children. The value of this data for statistical purposes is, therefore, a secondary benefit. Data is only held on children who have been identified by the authorities as being in need of a child protection plan. Many children who have experienced or are likely to experience significant harm may not be identified. These figures should therefore not be interpreted as a record of all child abuse.

Contact the NSPCC's information service for more statistics on child abuse and neglect or information on any child protection topic