NSPCC reveals worrying rise in neglect cases across Bedfordshire

"The pandemic is the greatest challenge we’ve faced in decades," says charity boss

By Clare Turner
Wednesday, 2nd December 2020, 12:35 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd December 2020, 12:38 pm

Concerns about child cruelty and neglect in the UK are continuing to rise with police recorded offences increasing by 53 per cent in three years, the NSPCC has revealed.

In Bedfordshire, the number of child cruelty and neglect offences varied considerably. From 2013/14, when seven crimes were recorded, to 2019/20, 229 offences have been logged in all, with 38 last year.

During the months of the first lockdown alone, 27 of these crimes were recorded in Bedfordshire. That compares with just six in the same period last year. This is despite overall crime falling across the UK during that period.

Neglected child (for illustration purposes)

The NSPCC has 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.

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 heartbreaking picture of the concern about the number of young people who were exposed to pain and suffering following the start of the pandemic.

“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 child neglect and abuse this Christmas, a number of iconic UK landmarks including Battersea Power Station will turn green from December 7, supporting the NSPCC’s Here for Children Christmas Appeal.

The NSPCC is encouraging the public to look out for signs of abuse and speak up if they are concerned about a child.

Signs of abuse and neglect to look out for can include:

*Untreated injuries, medical and dental issues

*Repeated accidental injuries caused by lack of supervision

*Recurring illnesses or infections

*Faltering weight or growth, and not reaching developmental milestones

*Poor language, communication or social skills

*Have unwashed clothes

*Left alone for a long time

*Taking on the role of carer for other family members

Adults concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC helpline seven days a week on 0808 800 5000, or email [email protected]