Number of children at risk of abuse soars by 80%

'How safe are our children?' report reveals highest recorded number of children being referred to social services in England

Figures released yesterday - as part of our annual report on the extent of abuse and neglect in the UK - show that the number of children referred to social services in England last year reached its highest since records began.

The report exposed a host of disturbing figures that highlight the pressing need to tackle child abuse. It revealed how 570,800 children were referred to social services in England in 2013/14, the highest number since the data was first collected in 2010.

The report also shows:

    • The number of children in the child protection system in the UK has shot up by 80 per cent since 2002.
    • The number of children who have been re-registered onto child protection registers in the UK for at least a second time has increased.
    • In modern Britain, neglect is the most common reason for children to be in the child protection system.
    • The number of contacts by worried adults to the NSPCC helpline about neglect in 2014/15 has risen by 228 per cent in just five years, from 5,363 to 17,602.
    • In 2013/14, 1 in 15 10-15-year-olds in England and Wales were the victim of a violent crime, with an estimated 445,000 violent offences experienced by children in that age group.


Peter Wanless, NSPCC CEO, said:
"These startling figures must not be ignored. As our report shows, the challenges in keeping future generations safe are myriad and complex.

"From the leap in young people being referred to social services, to the number of sexual offences being recorded against children, it is clear that society and government needs to 'up the ante' and ensure tackling child abuse is a top priority.

"We believe abuse can be prevented and damaged lives repaired. But for that to happen it is crucial for every single one of us to work together; only then can we prevent abuse by protecting those who cannot protect themselves."

Peter used his keynote speech at the opening of the 'How safe are our children?' conference yesterday to express his concerns in detail.

Read full keynote speech