Helpline referrals up 40% since 2012/13

Almost 100 contacts a day referred from our helpline to social services and police

Girl crying in bed

Our helpline has seen a significant increase in the number of contacts serious enough to refer to external agencies such as councils and police, amid rising reports of neglect and physical abuse.

Our latest figures show that a total of 33,333 contacts were passed on in 2015/16 – nearly 100 a day - compared with 23,733 in 2012/13 when the Savile scandal first came to light.

Our figures also reveal:

"We received a call from a neighbour worried about children next door. The caller often heard them crying and screaming, the mother shouting and swearing and loud thumping and banging. The caller was concerned they were being neglected. We referred the case to Children's Services and local police for a welfare check on the children"
NSPCC helpline counsellor

"The nation is more alive to the issues of child abuse"

Peter Wanless, CEO NSPCC

Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC, said:
"These figures reveal a nation that is more alive to the issues of child abuse following recent high profile scandals and the ongoing investigation into non-recent child abuse. They have become increasingly concerned and aware of the tell-tale signs of abuse and neglect in children.

"Our helpline is an invaluable service for people worried about the safety of a young person. When people are worried, and feel they need to speak to someone, they can be reassured they will be listened to and taken seriously."

Domestic abuse contacts rising too

News of the increase in referrals comes just two weeks after we revealed a sharp rise in the number of people worried about children witnessing physical violence and emotional abuse in their own home.

Since 2011, there has been a 75% increase in the amount of adults contacting us about domestic abuse, with 10 a day now getting in touch.

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NSPCC helpline

Through the NSPCC helpline, we offer help, advice and support to thousands of parents, professionals and families.
Read about our helplines


Neglect is the ongoing failure to meet a child's basic needs. It's dangerous and children can suffer serious and long-term harm.
Read more about neglect


  1. In 2015/16 we referred 14,169 contacts from the public concerned about neglect of a child compared to 9,803 in 2012/13.

  2. There was a 43% increase in the number of contacts passed on because of emotional abuse (from 3,629 in 2012/13 to 5,195 in 2015/16)

  3. There was a 45% rise in referrals because of physical abuse (from 5,783 in 2012/13 to 8,401 in 2015/16)