Calls to the NSPCC Helpline about serious child abuse or neglect have increased significantly since the death of baby Peter, two years ago today, the child protection charity has said.
The charity said it passed on 11,243 child protection referrals from the helpline to the police or social services in 2008-9, up by over a third on the 2006-7 figure of 8,170.
From a sample of 629 referrals made in 2008-9, the charity identified that more than one in three calls (35%) concerned families unknown to local agencies. The authorities took action to investigate and protect the children in nearly all cases.
Physical or sexual abuse
Many of the calls were about children being physically assaulted, sexually abused or badly neglected. Most came from neighbours, relatives and friends of the family.
Calls of concern continue to rise, with the helpline referring more than one call an hour to agencies in June.
Christine Renouf, director of helpline services said: “Fortunately people seem to be more aware of children who might be at risk of serious harm and are taking action to help them.
“The brutal torture and death of baby Peter was terrible but we know it was a wake-up call for some people to look out for children. More than one in three of our suspected child protection cases involve families not known to local authorities. Among them there will be children saved by a phone call to our helpline.”
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