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Child homicides statistics

Child killings in England and Wales: explaining the statistics


March 2014


  • On average, every week in England and Wales one child is killed at the hands of another person.


  • On average, in England and Wales, one baby is killed every 20 days.

 
 The statements below are based on a 5 year average (2008/09 to 2012/13) calculated using figures from the Office of National Statistics on the number of homicides of children aged under 16 years recorded by the police in England and Wales.  The term ‘homicide’ covers the offences of murder, manslaughter and infanticide. The term 'parent' is defined as a biological parent, step parent, adopted parent of the victim or the resident or non resident partner of the victim's parent. Figures are rounded to the nearest whole number. For further explanation of the statistics see Child killings in England and Wales: explaining the statistics (NSPCC, 2012).
 
  • On average, every week in England and Wales one child is killed at the hands of another person.

  • On average, 53 children in England and Wales are killed at the hands of another person every year.

  • Over two thirds (68%) of children killed at the hands of another person in England and Wales are aged under five years.

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

  • Every 10 days in England and Wales one child is killed at the hands of their parent. Over two thirds (67% on average) of all cases of children killed at the hands of another person, the parent is the principal suspect.

  • On average, the under ones are seven times more likely to be killed than older children in England and Wales.

  • On average, in England and Wales, one baby is killed every 20 days

From: Office for National Statistics (2014)  Focus on: violent crime and sexual offences, 2012/13 (PDF). [Newport]: Office for National Statistics (ONS) 

The statements below are quoted from Home Office research into homicide statistics in England and Wales. The figures are based on statistics that record the gender of the known or suspected perpetrator combined with statistics that record relationship of the victim to the principal suspect.
  • "Killings of children by a natural parent are committed in roughly equal proportions by mothers (47%) and fathers (53%), but where the child is killed by someone other than a [birth] parent, males strongly predominate".

  • "The proportion of child homicides in which the perpetrator is a parent is exceptionally high among infants". For example between 1995 and 1999 in England and Wales, 80% of homicide victims under one year old were killed by a parent.

From: Brookman and Maguire (2003) Reducing homicide: a review of the possibilities (PDF). London: Home Office. p.16.



Further reading

Child killings in England and Wales: explaining the statistics
NSPCC, 2012


Contact the NSPCC's Information Service for further information on child abuse statistics or any child protection topic