CHILD cruelty and neglect crimes in Warwickshire have more than doubled in the last five years NSPCC figures reveal.
A total of 95 offences – including extreme cases of parents or carers deliberately assaulting, abandoning or neglecting children – were recorded by Warwickshire Police in the past year, up from 39 in 2013-14.
The force’s head of vulnerability and safeguarding said better recording of offences, and victims’ improved confidence in reporting them, had contributed to the increase.
Det Supt Pete Hill said: “Awareness of the issue, coupled with an increase in confidence that victims will be listened to, is something we welcome.
“Warwickshire Police takes any reports of cruelty against children and young people extremely seriously and we are committed to tackling crimes of this nature.”
He said the force had specialist officers dedicated to tackling child sexual offences, and officers in the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) worked closely with partners to share information and jointly investigate potential crimes.
He added: “We are determined to bring anyone to justice who commits cruelty against a child or young person, while providing support and safeguarding to those young people who have been affected.”
NSPCC CEO Peter Wanless wants to see more early intervention.
He said: “Greater public awareness and improvements in police recording could be factors in this increase, but deeper societal issues such as increasing pressure on parents and a lack of investment in early intervention services are leaving more children vulnerable and exposed to pain and suffering.
“Whatever the reasons for the rise, cruelty to children is never ok. It is vital children always have a place they can go to seek help and support, day and night.”
The NSPCC has launched its Light For Every Childhood Christmas Appeal, to raise awareness of child neglect and abuse, and to help keep its 24-hour Childline helpline service running.
Visit www.nspcc.org.uk to donate.
Email [email protected] or call 0808 800 5000 to report concerns about a child to the NSPCC.