Facts and figures about child abuse in the UK
Child abuse statistics for use by press and media
- Police recorded over 23,000 sex offences against children aged under 18 years in England and Wales between April 2012 and March 2013.1
- More than one in three children (34 per cent) who experienced contact sexual abuse by an adult did not tell anyone else about it.
Four out of five children (82.7 per cent) who experienced contact sexual abuse from a peer did not tell anyone else about it.2
- In 2012/13, ChildLine counsellors dealt with 1.4 million contacts from children about various problems including, bullying, sexual abuse, violence and mental health issues.3
- On average, every week in the UK at least one child is killed at the hands of another person.4
- Children under one are more at risk of being killed at the hands of another person than any other age group in England and Wales.5
- In 2012/13 NSPCC helpline advisors responded to nearly 51,000 contacts from adults concerned about a child. More than half of these were serious enough to warrant referral to local police or children's services for further investigation.6
- Neglect is the most common reason for a child to be the subject of a child protection plan or on a child protection register in the UK.7
- Neglect was a factor in 60 per cent of the 139 serious case reviews (where a child died or was seriously injured) published in England between 2009 and 2011.8
- Between 2010/11 and 2011/12 nearly 26 million child abuse images were confiscated by the police.9
- There are 29,837 offenders on the Sex Offenders Register for sexual offences against children.10
- 1 in 20 children in the UK have been sexually abused. 11
- Police forces in England and Wales recorded over 28,000 cases of children running away from care in 2012.12
See our statistics pages for further details, and more facts and figures about child abuse in the UK.
1. Source: NSPCC (2013) Courts unjust to child sexual abuse witnesses. NSPCC press release 7 October 2013. London: NSPCC
2. Source: Radford et al (2011) Child abuse and neglect in the UK today. London: NSPCC
3. Source: NSPCC (2013) Real life stories: the NSPCC annual report and accounts 2012/13. London: NSPCC
4. Based on child homicide data from Home Office, Scottish Government and Police Service of Northern Ireland.
5. Source: Office for National Statistics (2013) Focus on: violent crime and sexual offences, 2011/12. London: Office for National Statistics
6. Source: NSPCC (2013) Real life stories: the NSPCC annual report and accounts 2012/13. London: NSPCC
7. For a breakdown by nation and the sources of these figures please visit our page on child protection register statistics.
8. Source: Brandon et al (2013) Neglect and serious case reviews. University of East Anglia/NSPCC
9. Source: NSPCC (2012) Call for urgent action to stamp out trade of child abuse images. NSPCC press release 15 October 2012.
10. Source: NSPCC (2012) Nearly a thousand registered child sex abusers reoffended. NSPCC press release, 18 November 2012.
11. Source: Radford et al (2011) Child abuse and neglect in the UK today. London: NSPCC
12. Source: NSPCC (2013) Children missing from care. NSPCC press release, 24 April 2013.
Statistics for professionals
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