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.

Illustrated map of Wales

There are over 620,000 children under 18 in Wales

Explanation: There were an estimated 627,900 children under 18 years in Wales in 2015.

Nearly 19,000 children received support from children's services in Wales in 2016

Explanation: There were 18,990 children assessed as "children in need" at 31 March 2016. 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".

Find out what significant harm is and how is it determined on our page Child protection in Wales: referrals and investigations. See Indicator 12 in How safe are our children? 2017.

View the trend graph for Number of children on and added to a child protection register in Wales (PNG).

There are over 5,600 children in care in Wales

Explanation: 5,660 children were “looked after” in Wales at 31 March 2016. 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.

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

3,720 children in need who were looked after were in care due to abuse or neglect.

See also Indicator 17 in How safe are our children? 2017.

People

Over 3,000 children in Wales were identified as needing protection from abuse in 2016

Explanation: 3,060 children were on child protection registers in Wales at 31 March 2016.

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

Find out what significant harm is and how is it determined on our page on Child protection in Wales: referrals and investigations.

See Indicator 13 in How safe are our children? 2017 and our overview of child protection register statistics for Wales (PDF).

View the trend graph for Number of children on and added to a child protection register in Wales (PNG).

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

Explanation: There were 3,060 children on a child protection register in Wales on 31 March 2016. 1,380 children (45%) were under the category of neglect only. 1,560 children were under a category that included neglect. This equates to 51% 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.

Find out what significant harm is and how is it determined on our page on Child protection in Wales: referrals and investigations.

See Indicators 13 and 14 in How safe are our children? 2017 and our overview of child protection register statistics for Wales (PDF).

View the trend graph for Composition of children protection registers in Wales (PNG).

Reports of sexual offences against children have increased sharply in Wales

Explanation: Police recorded 2,329 sexual offences against children under the age of 16 in Wales in 2015/16.

This was a 25% increase on the 2014/15 figure of 1,857 offences. It is the highest number of recorded sexual offences against children in the past decade.

All 4 nations saw an increase in 2015/16 possibly due to an increased willingness to report abuse following recent high profile sexual abuse cases in the media combined with improved police recording.

See Indicator 4 in How safe are our children? 2017.

View the trend graph for Recorded sexual offences againt children under 16 in Wales (PNG).

There has been a 50% increase in police-recorded offences of obscene publications in Wales since 2014/15

Explanation: In 2015/16 there were 881 police-recorded offences of obscene publications. There has been an increase of 50% since 2014/15 when 587 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.

Due to the way data is collected in Wales, some of these offences may relate to indecent images of adults.

See Indicator 9 in How safe are our children? 2017.

View the trend graph for The number of police-recorded offences of indecent images in England and Wales (PNG).

Recorded sexual offences against children under 16 have increased by 25% in Wales since 2014/15

Explanation: Police recorded 2,329 sexual offences against children under the age of 16 in Wales in 2015/16.

This was a 25% increase on the 2014/15 figure of 1,857 offences. It is the highest number of recorded sexual offences against children in the past decade.

All 4 nations saw an increase in 2015/16 possibly due to an increased willingness to report abuse following recent high profile sexual abuse cases in the media combined with improved police recording.

See Indicator 4 in How safe are our children? 2017.

View the trend graph for Recorded sexual offences againt children under 16 in Wales (PNG).

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

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References

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