THE NUMBER of child cruelty and neglect offences in the West Mercia Police area has more than trebled in the last six years, shock figures released by the NSPCC have revealed, writes Demi Andrews.
The area’s increase – from 103 in 2012/13 to 354 in 2017/18 – is higher than the national average.
UK-wide the number of child cruelty and neglect cases has doubled – from 7,965 in 2012/13 to 16,939 in 2017/18.
Reports to police include extreme cases of when a parent or carer deliberately neglected, assaulted, abandoned or exposed their child to serious harm.
For particular cases where parents cannot meet the needs of their child, a social worker will step in and a plan will be be put in place to prevent issues from escalating.
Last year there were 27,856 children in the UK on a child protection plan or register for concerns involving neglect.
To raise awareness of child neglect the NSPCC has launched its ‘Light For Every Childhood’ Christmas appeal.
The Houses of Parliament and BT Tower become the latest UK landmarks to show their support by lighting up in the charity’s trademark green.
The drive is calling on people for donations to its helpline which is open throughout the holidays so it is there for children suffering from neglect at Christmas and all year round.
Paul Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC, said: “We need to be aware of vulnerable children and be ready to report it to the NSPCC or the authorities if we are concerned for their safety or wellbeing.
“We are appealing to the generous nature of the public to support our ‘Light For Every Childhood’ Christmas Appeal to help us be there for even more young people in need.”
Adults concerned about a child can email firstname.lastname@example.org or call the NSPCC helpline seven days a week on 0808 800 5000.