'Worrying scale' of child abuse on the rise in East of England

Data obtained the by the NSPCC shows that child abuse and neglect cases have risen in the East of England.

Data obtained the by the NSPCC shows that child abuse and neglect cases have risen in the East of England. - Credit: Tom Hull Photography 2019

Child cruelty offences in the East of England have risen by a fifth in two years, new data has revealed.  

Figures obtained by the NSPCC show that last year, there were 544 cases of adults neglecting, mistreating or assaulting children in the region – an average of more than one case per day. 

This is an increase of 20% from the year 2019/20, when there were 452 offences committed.  

In Suffolk, cases rose by more than 50% in the year 2020/21, jumping from 139 cases in 2019/20 to 212. 

In the past year, that figure has decreased slightly, and is now at 207. 

The NSPCC obtained this data through Freedom of Information requests to police forces. It released the statistics today, Childhood Day (June 10), a day dedicated to raising funds and awareness of child abuse. 

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

Most Read

“The evidence from a series of reviews has 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.” 

Paula Hudgell is the adoptive mother of Tony, whose biological parents were imprisoned for 10 years after breaking his legs and failing to get help for days. 

She said: “We have witnessed first-hand the devastating effect of child cruelty and neglect and hope no child ever experiences what Tony went through. 

"However, that won’t be made possible without the government leading the way and reforming the children’s social care system.   

“We play our part in many ways and have been working with the NSPCC for several years.  

“This year, we are going into a local school on Childhood Day to raise awareness of child abuse and join in the school’s Big Breaktime fundraising event for the charity.  

“It is important to celebrate the joys of childhood, but a stark reminder that not every child is lucky enough to experience a happy youth.” 

To find out more about Childhood Day, visit: www.nspcc.org.uk/support-us/events-fundraising/childhood-day/ 

NSPCC Helpline: 0808 800 5000 

Childline: 0800 1111 or visit: www.childline.org.uk