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Under ones

Statistics on children under one

April 2014

  • Over a third of all serious case reviews are in relation to babies under one year of age.
  • Infants aged under one year are more at risk of being killed at the hands of another person than any other age group in England and Wales.

Population statistics
Child protection register statistics
Homicide statistics
Serious case review statistics
Research statistics
NSPCC statistics
Further reading



Population statistics

  • In the United Kingdom there were an estimated 816,000 children aged under one year in mid 2012. Over 6% of all children aged under 18 in the United Kingdom were aged under one year.

Figure rounded to the nearest hundred. From: Office for National Statistics. (2013) Population estimates for UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland - mid 2012 (ZIP). [London]: Office for National Statistics.




Child protection register statistics


England

  • In England, 4,870 children aged under one year and 860 unborn children were the subject of a child protection plan on 31 March 2013.
  • 11% (4,870) of all the children subject of a child protection plan (42,850 children in total) were aged under one year (or 13% (5,730) including unborn children).
  • Of the 4,850 children aged under one year and unborn children who were the subject of a child protection plan on 31 March 2013 in England:
  • 2,890 were subject to a child protection plan for an intial category of neglect
  • 890 for physical abuse
  • 220 for sexual abuse
  • 1180 for emotional abuse
  • 570 for multiple categories of abuse or for classificatory categories not recommended by 'Working together' (1999).
Northern Ireland

  • In Northern Ireland, there were 224 children aged under one year on the child protection register on 31 March 2013. No figures are given for unborn children.
  • 10% (224) of all children on the child protection register (2,127 children in total) were aged under one year.
Scotland

  • In Scotland figures are only available for the age category of 0-4 year olds.
  • In Scotland, there were 1,354 children aged 0-4 years and 121 unborn children on the child protection register on 31 July 2013.
  • 51% (1,354) all children on the child protection register (2,681 children in total) were aged under four years (or 55% (1,475) including unborn children).

Wales

  • In Wales, there were 335 children aged under one year on the child protection register on 31 March 2013. There were 20 unborn children on the child protection register.
  • 11% (335) of all children on the child protection register (2,950 children in total) were aged under one year (or 12% (355) including unborn children).
  • Of the 335 children under one on the Child Protection register on the 31 March 2013 in Wales:

  • 10 were on the register for neglect and physical abuse
  • 165 for neglect
  • 55 for physical abuse
  • 10 for sexual abuse
  • 85 for emotional abuse
  • 5 for neglect and sexual abuse.
From: England: Department for Education (2013) Table A5 in Main table: characteristics of children in need in England, 2012-13 (Excel). London: Department for Education.

Northern Ireland: Source: Waugh, Iain (2013) Table 2.1 in Children's Social Care Statistics for Northern Ireland 2012/13 (PDF). Belfast: Northern Ireland, DHSSPS.

Scotland: Scottish Government (2014)  Table 2.1a in Children's Social Work Statistics Scotland 2012-13 (Excel).  Edinburgh: National Statistics.

Wales: Welsh Assembly Government (2013) Children on child protection register by local authority, category of abuse and age group. Cardiff: StatsWales

Also referenced: Department of Health (DH), Home Office and Department for Education and Employment (DfEE) (1999) Working together to safeguard children: a guide to inter-agency working to safeguard and promote the welfare of children (PDF). London, The Stationery Office (TSO).



Homicide statistics

  • Infants aged under one year are more at risk of being killed at the hands of another person than any other age group in England and Wales.

  • On average, the under ones are 7 times more likely to be killed than older children.

    This is based on a 5-year average using the Home Office figures for homicides of children aged under 16 in England and Wales.

From: Office for National Statistics (2013) Focus on: violent crime and sexual offences, 2011/12 (PDF). [Newport]: Office for National Statistics (ONS)
  • On average, one baby is killed almost every two weeks in the UK.

    In the last five years (2007/08 to 2011/12) the average number (rounded to the nearest whole) of homicides per year for children aged under one year were:

    • England and Wales: 18
    • Northern Ireland: 1
    • Scotland: 1
    • United Kingdom total = 20

 

From: England and Wales: Office for National Statistics (2013) Focus on: violent crime and sexual offences, 2011/12 (PDF). [Newport]: Office for National Statistics (ONS)

Northern Ireland: Correspondence with the Police Service of Northern Ireland based on the publication of: Police Service of Northern Ireland (2011) Trends in police recorded crime in Northern Ireland 1998/99 to 2010/11 (PDF). Belfast: PSNI.

Scotland: Scottish Government (2012) Table 5. In: Statistical Release: Crime and Justice Series: Homicide in Scotland, 2011-12 Edinburgh: National Statistics.
  • The proportion of child homicides in which the perpetrator is a parent is exceptionally high among infants.

  • Between 1995 and 1999 in England and Wales, 80% of homicide victims under one year old were killed by a parent.

From: Brookman, Fiona and Maguire, Mike (2003). Reducing homicide: a review of the possibilities (PDF). Home Office. p.16-7.




Serious case review statistics


In England

  • 36% of SCRs concerned a baby under-one year of age (a drop from 46% in 2007-9).
  • Of the 178 cases originally notified between 1 April 2009 and 31 March 2011 in England, 64 (36%) were in relation to babies under one year of age.


  • Of the 64 children aged under one year:
    • 26 (41%) were under three months of age
    • 24 (38%) were aged three to five months
    • 9 (14%) were aged six to eight months
    • 5 (8%) were between nine months and one year.


From: Brandon, M et al. (2012)  New learning from serious case reviews: a two year report for 2009-2011 (PDF) . London: Department for Education (DFE)

  • Over a third of children subject to serious case reviews are under one year of age.


  • Of the 602 children related to in serious case reviews between 1 April 2007 and 31 March 2011 in England, 210 (35%) were babies under one year of age.

 

These figures are the number of children aged under one year mentioned in all serious case reviews (one serious case review may refer to more than one child).

From: Ofsted (2011) Ages of concern: learning lessons from serious case reviews: a thematic report of Ofsted’s evaluation of serious case reviews from 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2011 (PDF). Manchester: Ofsted.

In Northern Ireland

  • Of the 24 case management reviews undertaken between January 2003 and December 2008 29% concerned a baby under one year of age.


From: Devaney, J. et al. (2013) Translating learning into action: an overview of learning arising from Case Management Reviews in Northern Ireland 2003-2008 (PDF). [Belfast]: Department for Health, Social Services and Public Safety. Northern Ireland.

In Scotland

  • Of the 70 children subject to a significant case review since 2007 in Scotland whose age was recorded, 21 (30%) were in relation to babies under one year of age. A further 2 (3%) related to unborn babies.

  • One fifth of the children in the study (13 in total) were under three months old.

From: Vincent, S. and Petch, A (2012) Audit and analysis of initial and significant case reviews (PDF). Edinburgh: The Scottish Government.

Further analysis by the NSPCC

  • An analysis of 130 serious case reviews relating to infants found that domestic violence, substance misuse or parental mental health was a factor in at least 94 cases.
This is based on analysis of the 130 serious case reviews published from 1 January 2008 to 12 September 2011 from England and Wales in the NSPCC library's collection. The NSPCC collection of serious case reviews is not comprehensive; it represents all the reviews we are currently aware of. These figures are liable to be underestimates as they rely on the often limited information provided within executive summaries.
From: NSPCC (2011) An analysis of serious case reviews concerning children under one. London: NSPCC. 



Research statistics

  • Around 26% of babies (198,000) under the age of one in the UK have parents affected by either one or a combination of: domestic violence, substance misuse, mental health problems.

  • 14% of babies (109,000) in the UK are living with a parent who is a substance misuser.

  • 19% of babies (144,000) in the UK have a parent who has a common mental health problem

  • 5% of babies (39,000) in the UK have a parent who has experienced domestic violence, in the past year.

Percentages are rounded to the nearest whole number. Numbers are rounded to the nearest 1,000. Please note that these are estimates based on analysis of a survey: they are not exact numbers.
From: Manning, Victoria (2011) Estimates of the number of infants (under the age of one year) living with substance misusing parents. London: NSPCC.



  • A population-based study conducted in South Wales and the south west of England found that the majority of subdural haemorrhages (a blood clot between the brain and the outer membrane) in children under two years of age are due to child abuse.

  • It is estimated that approximately 12 children per 100,000 under the age of two suffer from non-accidental subdural haemorrhage (a blood clot between the brain and the outer membrane), with at least half of these injuries being related to shaking.

From: Jayawant, S., Rawlinson, A., Gibbon, F., Price, J., Schulte, J., Sharples, P. Sibert, J.R. and Kemp, A.M.(1998) Subdural haemorrhages in infants: population based study. British Medical Journal, 317(7172): 1558-1561.



  • A study of the incidence of severe physical abuse of children aged 0 to 14 in Wales between 1996 and 1998 found that severe physical abuse is 120 times more common in babies aged under one, than in 5 to 13 year olds.

    The research team estimated that 1 in 880 babies are seriously physically abused in their first year of life.

    It was found that boys are more at risk of being severely abused than girls
    .
From: Sibert et al., (2002) The incidence of severe physical abuse in Wales. Child Abuse and Neglect, 26(3): 267-276. Freely view abstract or access full text by subscription: Child Abuse and Neglect, 26(3): 267-276.



  • A research study of a group of 69 physically abused babies aged under one were followed for three years after the abuse was first identified.

    Of the 49 babies who returned to their home after child protection investigations, 15 experienced further abuse during the three year period (of which 8 were physically abused and 7 were neglected). This represents a re-abuse rate of 31%
    .
From: Ellaway, B.A. et al. (2004) Are abused babies protected from further abuse? Archives of Disease in Childhood, 89(9): 845-846. Freely view abstract or access full text by subscription: Archives of Disease in Childhood, 89(9): 845-846.



  • Inflicted head injuries that involve injury to the brain or bleeding within the structures around the brain are the leading cause of death of children who have been abused. 

    There is an estimated prevalence of 1:3,000 in babies of less than six months.

From: Welsh Child Protection Systematic Review Group and NSPCC (2009) Core-Info: head and spinal injuries in children. London: NSPCC.




NSPCC statistics

  • Over half (53%) of the referrals made by the NSPCC to children's services involve concerns about children in families where substance misuse, mental health or domestic violence were mentioned as a factor.

  • 60% of the referrals made by the NSPCC to children's services involve concerns about children in families where substance misuse, mental health or domestic violence were mentioned as a factor.
The sample size was 144 referrals to social services, which represent just over 2% of all referrals made by the NSPCC between April - June 2011 (5,988 referrals). The sample is representative and was weighted by type of caller and nature of concern, with the cases selected randomly from within these groups.

From: Woods, Richard (2011) Helpline highlight: how the NSPCC protects babies. London: NSPCC.




Further reading


Looked after infants who are adopted: Scotland statistical briefing (PDF, 84KB)
NSPCC, 2012. Compares infant adoption statistics in England and Scotland.

What the millennium cohort study can tell us about the challenges new parents face: statistics for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland (PDF, 331KB)
Bunting, Lisa and Galloway, Susan, 2011. An overview of the MCS.

Non-accidental head injury statistics
NSPCC, 2011. Complied from research findings.

Estimates of the number of infants (under the age of one year) living with substance misusing parents
NSPCC, 2011. Research findings.

An analysis of serious case reviews by the NSPCC
NSPCC, 2011. A brief analysis of the serious case reviews held by the NSPCC Library that concern children aged under one year.

The prevalence of infant abuse and maltreatment related deaths in the UK
NSPCC, 2011.  An NSPCC briefing.

How to find, understand and use statistics about child abuse
NSPCC, 2011. A introduction on how to find and interpret 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.

Child protection register statistics
NSPCC

Child homicides statistics
NSPCC

Serious case reviews
Our pages on the case reviews of child deaths and serious injury collating guidance, research reports and a list of published case reviews.




Contact the NSPCC's information service for information on children under one, child abuse statistics or any child protection topic