Helpline highlight: how the NSPCC protects babies Contacts to the NSPCC helpline

Close up of babyThis report looks at the key concerns people who called the NSPCC between April and June 2011 had about babies.

Part of the Helpline highlight series.

Author: Richards Woods
Published: 2011

  • Between April and June 2011, 851 people contacted the NSPCC's helpline service with concerns about a baby.
  • Almost three quarters (74%) of all calls about children under one led to a referral to the police or children's services.
  • 44% of people who contacted us about a child under one, were worried the child was being neglected.
  • In over half (55%) of all calls that resulted in a referral, the caller said they had heard or seen the child in distress.
  • Nearly two thirds (60%) of referrals involved either parental substance misuse, domestic abuse or concerns about the parent's mental health.
  • One in three referrals for neglect also featured some form of emotional abuse, physical abuse or both.
The vulnerability of babies 3
Janice's story 6
Kai and Milly's story 8
Risk factors 10
How we help 14
Conclusion 14
Bibliography 15
Appendix 16
Methodology 18

Helpline highlight series

Helpline highlights is a series of reports looking at why people contact the NSPCC helpline and how we help.

View Helpline highlight series

Got a question?

Our Knowledge and Information Service answer over a thousand enquiries every year helping professionals find the information and resources they need to keep children safe.

Send us your enquiry

Other research and resources

All Babies Count: prevention and protection for vulnerable babies

Reviews the current research on the vulnerability of babies to abuse and neglect and presents analysis of the risk factors and suggestions for early intervention.
Find out more

Helpline highlight 2012/13: more people speaking out to protect children

Finds an increase in people contacting the NSPCC to help protect children. Part of the NSPCC's Helpline highlight series.
Find out more

How safe are our children? 2017

How safe are our children? 2017 is the NSPCC's third annual report that compiles and analyses the most robust and up-to-date child protection data that exists across the four nations in the UK for 2017.

Read the report

Handle with care

Advice for parents on safe ways to hold and care for your baby and ways to cope when the crying doesn’t stop.
Find out more

All Babies Count: support for parents

Guide for new parents on how to calm babies, manage stress and spot the signs of post-natal depression.
Find out more


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.

Sign up to CASPAR

Information Service

Our free service for people who work with children can help you find the latest policy, practice, research and news on child protection and related subjects.

For more information, call us or email

0808 800 5000

Submit an enquiry

How safe are our children? Growing up online

Our annual flagship conference is for everyone working in child protection.

Find out more

Follow @NSPCCpro

Follow us on Twitter and keep up-to-date with all the latest news in child protection.

Follow @NSPCCpro on Twitter

Library catalogue

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.

Search the library

New in the Library

A free weekly email listing all of the new child protection publications added to our library collection.

Sign up to New in the Library

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.

Read our guide (PDF)

Impact and evidence

Find out how we evaluate and research the impact we’re making in protecting children, get tips and tools for researchers and access resources.

Our impact and evidence

Training and consultancy

Grow your child protection knowledge and skills with CPD certified courses delivered by our experts nationwide and online.
Get expert training

Sharing knowledge to keep children safe

Read our guide to the NSPCC Knowledge and Information Service to find out how we can help you with child protection queries, support your research, and help you learn and develop.

Read our guide (PDF)