Child cruelty and neglect crimes continue to rise every year

In 2018/19 there were 20,024 recorded crimes - and we need your support to be there for every child.

We analysed police data for the whole of the UK and found child cruelty and neglect offences have risen every year over the last 5 years1.

Crimes reported included:

    • extreme cases of deliberate neglect
    • assault
    • abandonment
    • or exposure to serious harm and unnecessary suffering.

We know that many crimes are never reported, which is why we need your help.

Childline is the only service open for children all night this Christmas, and all year round. We need your support for 2020 and beyond. Find out how you can support our Light for Every Childhood Christmas appeal.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC Chief Executive said:

"To see year after year the number of neglect and cruelty offences rise so dramatically is disturbing. Greater public awareness and improvements in police recording could be factors in this continuous increase, but deeper societal issues such as increasing pressure on parents and a lack of investment in early intervention services, are leaving more children vulnerable and exposed to pain and suffering.

"Whatever the reasons for the rise cruelty to children is never ok, it is vital that children always have a place they can go to seek help and support, day and night. Childline never stops and never sleeps, but for this to continue we need the public's support and to back our Light for Every Childhood' Appeal."


Names and identifying features have been changed to protect identity. Photographs have been posed by models.


  1. 1. We analysed police data for the whole of the UK over the last 5 years. There were 9,518 child cruelty and neglect offences recorded by police in 2013/14, which has more than doubled in 2018/19 resulting in 20,024 crimes of this nature.