Child protection in Wales Statistics

We don't know exactly how many children in Wales have experienced child abuse. But official statistics do tell us how many children have been identified as needing support or protection.

People

There are over 620,000 children under 18 in Wales

Explanation: There were an estimated 629,609 people under 18 years in Wales in 2014.

Over 19,000 children received support from children's services in Wales last year

Explanation: There were 19,385 children assessed as “children in need” at 31 March 2015. This means they receive some kind of support from children’s services.  

This figure includes children on the child protection register (because they are at ongoing risk of significant harm), and looked after children (children in care).

A child may also receive support services because they are disabled, a parent is ill or disabled, or there are other family problems.

Some children may have been abused but either there is no ongoing risk of significant harm or they don’t reach the threshold for “significant harm”. To find out what significant harm is and how is it determined, see our page on Child protection in Wales: Referrals and investigations.

See also Indicator 12 in How safe are our children? 2016.

There are over 5,600 children in care in Wales

Explanation: 5,615 children were “looked after” in Wales at 31 March 2015. Children become looked-after when they are under the care of the local authority. Looked-after children are often referred to as children in care.

575 of these children were living at home with their parents.

3,655 of these children were looked after due to abuse or neglect.

See also Indicator 17 in How safe are our children? 2016.

People

Over 2,900 children in Wales were identified as needing protection from abuse last year

Explanation: 2,936 children were on child protection registers in Wales at 31 March 2015.

These figures represent children identified and assessed as being at risk of significant harm. To find out what significant harm is and how is it determined, see our page on Child protection in Wales: Referrals and investigations.

See also Indicator 13 in How safe are our children? 2016 and our overview of child protection register statistics for Wales (PDF).

Neglect is the most common reason for taking child protection action in Wales

Explanation: There were 2,936 children on a child protection register in Wales on 31 March 2015.

1,170 children were under a category that included neglect. This equates to 40% of all the children on child protection registers in Wales.

These figures represent children identified and assessed as being at ongoing risk of significant harm from neglect.

See also Indicators 13 and 14 in How safe are our children? 2016 and our overview of child protection register statistics for Wales (PDF).

Find out more about the child protection system in the Wales.

Reports of sexual offences against children have increased sharply in Wales

Explanation: Police recorded 1,791 sexual offences against children under the age of 18 in Wales in 2014/15.

This was the highest number of recorded sexual offences against children in the past decade. All 4 nations saw a sharp increase in 2014/15.

See also Indicator 14 in How safe are our children? 2016.

There has been a 114% increase in police-recorded offences of obscene publications in Wales since the previous year

Explanation: In 2014/15 there were 587 police-recorded offences of obscene publications. There has been an increase of 114% since 2013/14 when 274 offences were recorded. 

It is a crime to create, possess or distribute indecent photographs or pseudo-photographs of children. These crimes are recorded in the Home Office Counting Rules (Home Office, 2016) under the miscellaneous category of ‘Obscene Publications’, a category which includes a variety of offences relating to obscene material and is not focused exclusively on children.

These figures are the maximum number of possible offences that have been recorded in relation to indecent images of children. Some of these offences will relate to adults but we don’t know how many.

See also Indicator 9 in How safe are our children? 2016.

Recorded sexual offences against children under 16 have increased by 26% in Wales since last year

Explanation: In 2014/15 there were 1,857 police-recorded sexual offences against under-16s in Wales. There has been an increase of 26% since 2013/14 when 1,478 offences were recorded.

See also Indicator 4 in How safe are our children? 2016.

Statistics across the UK

England

View official statistics for how many children have been identified as needing support or protection

Find out more

Northern Ireland

View official statistics for how many children have been identified as needing support or protection

Find out more

Scotland

View official statistics for how many children have been identified as needing support or protection

Find out more

More information and resources

Statistics on child abuse

View statistics and information on child abuse and neglect in the United Kingdom.
Find out more

Information Service

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For more information, call us or email help@nspcc.org.uk.

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Helping you keep children safe

Read our guide for professionals on what we do and the ways we can work with you to protect children and prevent abuse and neglect.

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Factsheets and briefings

Read our short summaries of various subjects in child protection from safe recruitment to new research on education programmes.

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References

  1. Home Office (2016) Counting rules for miscellaneous crimes against society (PDF). London: Home Office.