Child cruelty cases on rise in West Yorkshire

NSPCC chief executive officer Peter Wanless
NSPCC chief executive officer Peter Wanless

THE number of child cruelty and neglect cases recorded by police in West Yorkshire has risen by more than 10 per cent in recent years, according to figures released by the NSPCC.

The county has seen a 13 per cent increase in the number of cases between 2012 and 2015.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show there were 238 child cruelty and neglect cases in West Yorkshire in 2012/13. There were 234 cases in the county in 2013/14, rising to 270 in 2014/15.

And the charity has revealed that the number of child cruelty and neglect cases across England have soared by 75 per cent in the last 10 years.

The NSPCC’s annual child protection review – How Safe are our children– shows parents or carers were reported in connection with 8,506 offences in 2014/15 compared to 4,855 in 2005/06.

The huge increase in cases is reflected in the number of calls made to the NSPCC helpline about children suffering neglect. Last year there were over 16,000 contacts to the helpline.

Adults called with fears about children who were starving and dirty, young people who lived in rat-infested homes, while other contacts reported parents who were drunk or left their children to fend for themselves.

THe NSPCC’s chief executive officer Peter Wanless, said: “Neglect is the most common form of abuse in the UK and can wreak havoc on a child’s brain development, emotional well-being, ability to form relationships, and mental health. These children are more likely to suffer from depression and post-traumatic disorder, and even suicidal thoughts. For some, neglect can be fatal.

“These levels of neglect simply do not belong to the 21st century. Many of these lonely, frightened, children have to resort to desperate measures to survive after being left to fend for themselves and it shames our nation that these numbers are so high.”