How safe are our children? 2014 Analysis of how many children are being abused and neglected
Our report compiles and analyses the most robust and up-to-date child protection data that exists across the four nations in the UK for 2014.
The report sets out 20 different indicators. Each indicator looks at the question of 'how safe are our children?' from a different perspective. It also includes a section summarising the factors that influence a child's risk of abuse or neglect and a spotlight on the criminal justice response to child sexual abuse.
A data briefing has also been published outlining the data sources used, those not included and the availability and comparability of data.
Authors: Sonja Jutte, Holly Bentley, Pam Miller and Natasha Jetha
Demand is outgrowing expenditure
Insufficient early support services, more families struggling financially and higher thresholds have turned child protection into an emergency service, only able to react to the most serious cases.
Taking a broader view
Safeguarding and protecting children extends far beyond children's social care, into a wide range of services that are provided by public, private and third sector organisations.
A greater focus is needed on early intervention
We also need to spend smarter, making sure we invest up front in stopping families slipping into abusive or neglectful behaviour by focussing on risk factors that influence a child's risk of suffering abuse or neglect. This is far more effective in protecting children and costs less in the long run.
- The most serious forms of physical abuse such as homicide and deaths by assault remain down and have been steadily falling.
- There is an increased willingness to speak out about abuse and neglect. For example, contacts to the NSPCC helpline increased by 15% in 2012/13 compared with the previous year.
- Online abuse continues to be a growing issue. The number of counselling sessions ChildLine held about cyber bulling increased by 87% in 2012/13 compared with the previous year. Ofcom reports that one child in five has seen content online that they found worrying, nasty or offensive, and the proportion of children experiencing this has increased every year since 2011.
- The number of counselling sessions ChildLine holds where self-harm and suicide are the main concern continues to rise.
- The number of children on child protection registers and protection plans continues to increase in England, Wales and Scotland. As does the number of children who are looked after due to abuse or neglect in England and Wales.
|Context: children at risk of abuse and neglect||10|
|Measuring the extent of abuse and neglect in the UK||15|
|Indicator 1 Child homicides recorded by police||20|
|Indicator 2 Child mortality||22|
|Indicator 3 Child suicides||24|
|Indicator 4 Number of recorded sexual offences against children||28|
|The criminal justice response to child sexual abuse||32|
|Indicator 5 Number of recorded cruelty and neglect offences||36|
|Indicator 6 Self-reported prevalence of abuse and neglect||38|
|Indicator 7 Contacts with ChildLine||40|
|Indicator 8 Contacts with the NSPCC helpline||42|
|Indicator 9 Online harm||46|
|Indicator 10 Violent incidents experienced by 10 to 15 year olds||50|
|Indicator 11 Referrals accepted by social services||52|
|Indicator 12 Children in need||56|
|Indicator 13 Children in the child protection system||58|
|Indicator 14 Composition of child protection plans and child protection registers||60|
|Indicator 15 Re-registration onto child protection registers||62|
|Indicator 16 How long children are subject to child protection plans or on the child protection register||64|
|Indicator 17 Looked-after children||66|
|Indicator 18 Proportion of looked-after children who have three or more placements during the year||68|
|Indicator 19 Child trafficking||70|
|Indicator 20 Public attitudes to child abuse and neglect||72|
The 20 indicators
How safe are our children? series
How safe are our children? is a series of annual reports that compile the most robust and up-to-date child protection data that exists across each of the four nations in the UK.
Each report sets out a range of indicators to answer the question of "how safe are our children?" from a different perspective.
The series allows us not only to understand how many children are being abused and neglected, but also to track progress so that society can be held to account for its responsibility to children. Only by monitoring the extent of child abuse and neglect in the UK can we judge whether efforts to prevent maltreatment and to protect children are working.
Other research and resources
How safe are our children? 2013
Child abuse and neglect in the UK today
Costs and consequences of child maltreatment
Learning from case reviews
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