Violence against children fell by nearly 20% in 2014, study reveals

    Lead author attributes downward trend to factors including improved child safeguarding since the Baby P case

    child bike
    Photo: Gary Brigden

    By Davinia Overton

    Violence against children and adolescents fell by 18% last year, according to research by Cardiff University.

    The findings were part of a wider study into the number of people of all age groups injured in serious violence in England and Wales last year, which showed an overall decrease of 10%.

    Lead author of the study and director of Cardiff University’s Violence Research Group, Jonathan Shepherd, said: “Most encouraging is that attacks against children and adolescents are down by nearly a fifth.

    Improved safeguarding since Baby P

    “This trend could be attributed to a number of things from improved child safeguarding policies in the wake of the ‘Baby P’ tragedy to increased information sharing on community violence between the NHS, police and local government.”

    The NSPCC welcomed the fall in numbers of children attending A&E due to violence-related injuries, but warned there is still a long way to go.

    A spokesperson said: “Many children are still subjected to the most terrifying violence every year – there were more than 9,000 contacts about physical abuse to the NSPCC helpline last year alone.

    ‘A long way to go’

    “With research showing one in 20 children suffering sexual abuse and one in 14 children being physically abused, there’s still a long way to go to ensure that children are protected from harm.”

    The data for the study was gathered from a sample of 117 emergency departments, minor injury units and walk-in centres in England and Wales, using a report published by the National Violence Surveillance Network.

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