Child abuse and neglect in the UK today Research into the prevalence of child maltreatment in the United Kingdom
In 2000 we published the first ever UK-wide study of child maltreatment. Ten years later we carried out a much larger study to give us a more up-to-date picture of what children were experiencing.
We interviewed over 6,000 young adults, teenagers, children and parents of younger children. Our report looks at their experiences of abuse and neglect. It examines the impact of abuse and highlights that many children experiencing abuse by their parents or carers also experience other forms of abuse from other people.
Authors: Lorraine Radford, Susana Corral, Christine Bradley, Helen Fisher, Claire Bassett, Nick Howat and Stephan Collishaw
A substantial minority of children experience severe maltreatment and abuse at home, in school, in the community, from adults and from peers.
- 1 in 5 children have experienced severe maltreatment
- Children abused by parents or carers are almost 3 times more likely to also witness family violence
- 1 in 3 children sexually abused by an adult didn’t tell anyone at the time
- All types of abuse and neglect are associated with poorer mental health
Strong associations were found between maltreatment, sexual abuse, physical violence, and poorer emotional wellbeing, including self-harm and suicidal thoughts.
|Chapter 1: Introduction||16|
|Chapter 2: Research participants||29|
|Chapter 3: Child maltreatment in the family||39|
|Chapter 4: Maltreatment by adults not living in the family home||67|
|Chapter 5: Severe maltreatment in context||87|
|Chapter 6: Is child maltreatment increasing?||107|
|Chapter 7: Conclusions and implications||117|
|Appendix A: National Survey of Child Safety and Victimisation||124|
|Appendix B: Tables||138|
|Appendix C: Methodology||158|
|Appendix D: Selected Prevalence Studies||180|
Please cite as: Radford, L. et al. (2011) Child abuse and neglect in the UK today. London: NSPCC.
Spotlight on preventing child neglect
Our research and resources on neglect
Read our service evaluations, research reports, briefings and leaflets about child neglect.
Preventing child sexual abuse: towards a national strategy
How safe are our children? 2015
Learning from case reviews
No one noticed, no one heard
Helpline highlight: a year in review
Costs and consequences of child maltreatment
Child abuse and neglect
Child protection in the UK
Statistics on child abuse
Research with children: ethics, safety and avoiding harm
Our Current Awareness Service for Practice, Policy And Research delivers free weekly email alerts to keep you up-to-date with all the latest safeguarding and child protection news.
CASPAR is currently being upgraded but you can still sign up by contacting our Information Service.
Your donation can take a child anywhere
Research like this helps keep children safe from abuse and free to dream – but we can’t do it without our generous supporters.
Follow us on Twitter and keep up-to-date with all the latest news in child protection.
We hold the UK's largest collection of child protection resources and the only UK database specialising in published material on child protection, child abuse and child neglect.
New in the Library
A free weekly email listing all of the new child protection publications added to our library collection.
New in the Library is currently being upgraded but you can still sign up by contacting our Information Service.
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.
Impact and evidence hub
Find out how we evaluate and research the impact we’re making in protecting children, get tips and tools for researchers and access resources.
Get expert training and consultancy
Sharing knowledge to keep children safe
Read our guide to NSPCC Knowledge and Information Services to find out how we can help you with child protection queries, support your research, and help you learn and develop.