Child cruelty cases jump 40 percent in London in a single year, figures show

Child cruelty cases have risen sharply in the capital (stock image).

The number of child cruelty offences in London jumped by 40% as the capital emerged from the pandemic, official figures show.

More than 4,600 cases of children being neglected, mistreated or assaulted by adults were recorded across London last year, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) has revealed.

The data was given to the children's charity by the City of London and Metropolitan Police Forces in response to a Freedom of Information request.

They recorded 4,661 offences in 2021/22 - an average of 12 a day.

The NSPCC released the findings on Childhood Day to highlight the importance of everyone playing their part in keeping children safe.

Child safety experts warned at the start of the pandemic that an increase in stressors to parents and caregivers, coupled with an increase in children's vulnerability, and a disruption in normal protective services could lead to an increased risk of abuse.

The charity urged that vulnerable children are prioritised due to the scale of the problem coming out of the pandemic.

Across the UK, there were 25,617 offences recorded in 2021/22 - an average of 70 a day, which was up 25% from the previous year.

The NSPCC called for children’s social care in England to focus on early intervention and political leadership from the top of government.

It comes two weeks after the publication of the Independent Review into Children’s Social Care and the National Review into the deaths of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes in Solihull, West Midlands, and Star Hobson in Keighley, West Yorkshire, which showed the need for a reset of the child protection system.

Sir Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, said: “The statistics we have released today demonstrate the worrying scale of abuse and neglect. This must be a priority for the government.

“The evidence from a series of reviews have shown where and how to better resource and support a child protection system that works better for all those who need it. Now is the time for action.

“But our message isn’t just for politicians. It’s vital to remember that child abuse can be prevented.

“As thousands of people get behind Childhood Day today, they demonstrate their support for positive change and their willingness to play a part in keeping children safe.”

Schools across the country are taking part in fundraising events, including the Big Breaktime, where children and staff take an hour out of lessons to play.

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