214 referrals to NSPCC about child abuse in Cambridgeshire within one year

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NSPCC image - Credit: Archant

The NSPCC has received 214 referrals about child abuse in Cambridgeshire during the last 12 months, according to a new report.

Calls to the charity’s helpline ranged from children being left unsupervised or without adequate clothing, to being screamed at or living among mouldy food and animal faeces.

To raise awareness of child neglect – the most common type of abuse affecting children in the UK – the NSPCC has launched its Light For Every Childhood to address the hundreds of calls it expects to receive during the 12 days of Christmas.

The NSPCC Christmas Appeal is calling for donations to the NSPCC Helpline – which is open throughout the holidays – so they can answer more calls and help children suffering neglect at Christmas and all year round.

Nationally, during 2017/18 the helpline dealt with 19,937 calls and emails about child neglect – a third of all contacts to the NSPCC – with hundreds happening during the 12 days of Christmas. These calls resulted in 214 referrals to police and local authorities in Cambridgeshire in 2017/18.

The figures show that 73 per cent of all cases were serious enough to be referred to children services and the police for further investigation.

Often more than one child was the subject of a referral, making the actual number of those individuals referred far higher.

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Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC said: “Neglect doesn’t stop because it is Christmas, the holidays can in fact magnify problems because children are cut-off from the wider community and their support network.

“While it is positive that people are being vigilant and reporting concerns of children suffering neglect rather than standing by, it is still deeply worrying to see that neglect continues to be the most common reason for contacting the NSPCC Helpline.

“This is why 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.”

Neglect happens when a child’s basic needs are not being met and can be down to several reasons ranging from parents not having the skills, support or funds, to having mental health issues.

It can cause deep-rooted and lifelong physical and psychological harm for a child. At its worst neglect can lead to a child suffering permanent disabilities, or prove fatal.

Just £5 pays for the Helpline to answer a call about child neglect, to donate visit the NSPCC website.

Adults concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC Helpline seven days a week on 0808 800 5000, or email help@nspcc.org.uk