Half a million children suffer abuse in the UK every year

Last year the NSPCC Helpline contacted agencies about 22,505 children to investigate abuse and neglect concerns – that’s an average of 62 children a day. 1

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New data and research released today paints a worrying picture of the abuse and neglect faced by children. Support children and help us end child abuse by getting involved in Childhood Day 2022.

The NSPCC Helpline is a free, confidential helpline anyone can contact if they’re concerned about a child’s safety or wellbeing. Adults call our trained practitioners about anything from worries about their own child and questions about child safety to reporting suspected abuse or neglect.

We work closely with statutory agencies including the police and children’s services, and refer contacts we receive about abuse or neglect if serious, so action can be taken to protect children.


Half a million children a year suffer abuse in the UK 2

In 2021/22 the NSPCC’s Helpline contacted agencies about 22,505 children to investigate concerns about abuse and neglect:

  • 8,389 children with concerns of neglect
  • 6,441 children with concerns of physical abuse
  • 4,418 children with concerns of emotional abuse
  • 3,013 children with concerns sexual abuse
  • and 244 for sexual abuse online.3

We’re releasing analysis that sets out the scale and breadth of this issue so we can come together and take action to protect children from abuse and prevent it from happening.

I was the eldest of seven siblings and grew up in a chaotic household. I was subjected to emotional and physical torment and made to believe that I was saying, thinking and doing things I wasn’t. I spent four years in care.

 

My father abused me from a young age and in 2011, he was found guilty and sentenced to life imprisonment. I wish someone, at some point, had picked up the phone and called the NSPCC Helpline. I would have got the right help a lot earlier and it wouldn’t have done as much damage.

 

The NSPCC is just as important now as it was when I was a little girl. Whatever else is going on, it’s vital we all play our part for children suffering abuse.

Emma Frost was abused as a child. She wishes someone spoke out on her behalf and is calling on everyone to support the NSPCC’s Childhood Day, so that the charity can continue to take vital calls via the Helpline.

We must end child abuse

An average of

children a day
are referred to agencies to investigate for abuse or neglect
Over
%
of cases referred
to children services and the police were made about children aged nine and under
We estimate

children
in a classroom experience abuse before they turn 18

Everyone is responsible for keeping children safe

Childhood Day is our flagship day of fundraising and action that brings everyone in the UK together to protect children.

Everyone has a responsibility to keep children safe from abuse and neglect. This means:

  • sharing any concerns with NSPCC Helpline – even if you’re unsure
  • Governments across the UK prioritising child protection at a national level
  • everyone across the UK to uniting on the 10 June for Childhood Day to raise money and awareness for the NSPCC.

Whether it’s by fundraising, donating, volunteering at a collection, or taking action, we’re asking you to play your part to help keep children safe from abuse.

Get involved in Childhood Day!