Reports of child neglect increase by 44pc in Cambridgeshire

The NSPCC says police in Cambridgeshire have reported a 44pc increase in child neglect concerns in a year.

The charity has released its analysis of the police data, and is considering the pandemic’s impact on the lives of vulnerable children.

In Cambridgeshire, 104 offences were recorded in the financial year 2019/2020 compared with 72 in 2018/2019. The figure has tripled since 2013/14.

Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC said: “The pandemic is the greatest challenge we’ve faced in decades and these figures are yet another example of its impact on vulnerable children.

“They also provide a heart-breaking picture of the concern about the number of young people who were exposed to pain and suffering following the start of the pandemic.”

The national picture shows 23,529 concerns across the UK were reported of adults neglecting, mistreating or assaulting children in the last year.

While there are significant variations between the different regions, the charity’s analysis has found an increase of 53pc compared to 2017/2017 figures.

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The NSPCC issued the findings as part of a warning that children may be at risk of abuse this Christmas and that everyone needs to play their part in keeping young people safe.

While not every offence recorded with the police leads to a prosecution or a child protection outcome, it is argued that each one does represent a concern for a child.

And as has been investigating the impact of lockdown for the last six months, frontline teams are concerned the risks of abuse and neglect will increase further over the festive season.

Mr Wanless added: “This year it is even more essential that children have a place where they can seek help and support.

“Our Childline service will be running every day over the Christmas holidays, but we need the public’s support so we can ensure vulnerable children are heard.”

To raise awareness of the issue, the Guildhall in Cambridge will again join UK landmarks and turn green for a week from December 7 for the charity’s Christmas campaign.

If you have any concerns about a child’s welfare, then call the NSPCC helpline 0808 800 5000, or email help@nspcc.org.uk.

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