U.K. Child Abuse Helpline Contacted Almost 85,000 Times during Lockdowns

A U.K. children’s charity says that messages and calls to its helpline have risen to record levels over the past year of lockdowns. The most frequently raised concerns were about neglect, parental mental health and physical and mental abuse. BBC News has the story.

Children’s charity the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) says calls and messages to its helpline have risen to record levels during the pandemic. 

In the year to March 2021 the helpline was contacted almost 85,000 times, up 23% on the previous year.

The figures amplify fears that children who could not go to school during the lockdowns were more vulnerable to abuse and neglect, says the NSPCC. 

Chief Executive Sir Peter Wanless says Government recovery plans must address the harm children may have faced. 

“We’ve been hearing first-hand about the immense pressures families have faced during the pandemic and the heavy toll that has taken on children and young people. 

“For some children this has included experiencing abuse, bereavement and other harm,” said Sir Peter…

Of the 85,000 contacts to the helpline, the NSPCC says almost half, 47%, led to a referral – for example to police or children’s services. 

The most frequently raised concern was about adult or parental behaviour, including: 

~ alcohol or other substance misuse

~ domestic abuse

~ parental mental health

Other issues raised included neglect, physical abuse and emotional abuse.

NSPCC’s Chief Executive said children should be placed at the centre of the Government’s plans for the recovery from lockdown. The findings from this charity echo previous reports on the “pandemic of mental health problems” among children as a result of lockdowns, caused not only by domestic abuse but by the banning of social contact and, for example, the closing of children’s playgrounds.

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