Childhood Day - New Data Shows Child Abuse Referrals up to Eight a day in North West

Portrait of Nathalie Swanwick
Author:
Nathalie Swanwick
Abuse Claims Solicitor
Date:
10/06/2022

Today is Childhood Day, an awareness day organised by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) to raise awareness and funds for the protection of children across the UK.

It was recently revealed by the NSPCC that in 2020/21, their helpline for adults made 3,106 referrals to agencies in the North West alone for further investigation into reports of child abuse and neglect. This equates to almost eight referrals a day.

This is unfortunately a statistic that is reflected elsewhere in the country. Last year, the same helpline made 22,983 referrals to agencies about children who were believed to be suffering abuse and neglect across the UK.

In the North West, between 1st April 2021 and 31st March 2022, the NSPCC helpline made 536 referrals relating to sexual abuse and 972 relating to physical abuse.

In this article, we’ll look at the effect abuse in childhood can have on early development as well as what you can do to help if you suspect a child is being abused or neglected. Read on to find out more.

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How Does Abuse Affect Children’s Development?

Abuse rarely happens as a “one-off”, it is much more likely to take place over a prolonged length of time and the impact of this on a child’s development can be devastating.

We know that the effects of abuse on a child’s development can be far-reaching and multifaceted. Some of the most common areas in which we see the impact of abuse include:

Social and emotional development

A child who is experiencing or has experienced abuse may find it difficult to relax, or feel constantly “on alert”, which can make it difficult to fully interact in social situations. 

Brain and cognitive development

Abuse in childhood increases the risk of cognitive development disorders than can have an effect on memory, consciousness and the ability to retain information. 

Academic success

Children who are experiencing abuse may find it more difficult to pay attention in school, making it more difficult for them to achieve the same grades as their peers.

Unfortunately, the effects of abuse in childhood will often stay with people into adulthood. This can result in issues developing and maintaining relationships, difficulties dealing with external stress and pressure, as well as leading to the development of mental health problems in some cases.

How can you Help?

Determining whether a child is being abused and is need of help can be extremely difficult and a lot of people will talk themselves out of taking further action for fear of being wrong.   

A lot of the time, children will be reluctant to share the abuse they’re experiencing. This could be because they don’t yet have the language to express it, or their abuser may have normalised what is happening to them.  

Organisations like the NSPCC exist to help in situations like this, you don’t need to be certain before giving them a call. Their helpline counsellors can give you advice and inform you of any next steps that may need to be taken before proceeding. People can call 0808 800 5000 or email help@nspcc.org.uk.

If you or a loved one suffered abuse in childhood, our Abuse Solicitors could help you. For initial advice, please get in touch with our expert Abuse team.

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