#NSPCC #ChildAbuse #Statistics #UK



The most comprehensive overview of child protection in UK

How safe are our children? 2015 cover

Our report compiles and analyses the most robust and up-to-date child protection data that exists across the 4 nations in the UK for 2015.

The report sets out 20 different indicators. Each indicator looks at the question of ‘how safe are our children?’ from a different perspective. They also include historic data, to help track progress over time.

Authors: Sonja Jutte, Holly Bentley, Dan Tallis, Julia Mayes, Natasha Jetha, Orla O’Hagan, Helen Brookes, Nicola McConnell
Published: 2015

  • All 4 countries in the UK have seen the number of recorded sexual offences against children increase over the last year.
  • There’s been an increase in contacts to the NSPCC helpline and ChildLine about sexual abuse.
  • Neglect remains the most common form of child abuse in the UK.
  • The number of children dying as a result of homicide or assault remains in long term decline.

Statistics on child abuse

How many children are abused or neglected in the UK

We don’t know exactly how many children in the UK are victims of child abuse. Child abuse is usually hidden from view and children may be too young, too scared or too ashamed to tell anyone about what is happening to them.

However, there are a number of different sources of information, including official government statistics and academic research. These give us an indication of the number of children who are affected by abuse.

There are currently over 50,000 children identified as needing protection from abuse in the UK

Source: Child protection register and plan statistics for all UK nations for 2014.

Explanation: There were 56,231 children in the UK on child protection registers or the subject of child protection plans on 31 March 2014 (or 31 July 2014 in Scotland). This is based on figures from each UK nation.

See our summary of child protection register statistics in the UK (PDF).

Over 29,000 children & young people talked to ChildLine about abuse last year

Explanation: In 2014/15 ChildLine carried out 29,126 counselling sessions with children and young people about some form of abuse.

To find out more see our most recent ChildLine annual report

illustration of umbrella

We estimate that for every child identified as needing protection from abuse, another 8 are suffering abuse

Explanation: For every child placed on a child protection plan or the child protection register, we estimate there are another 8 children who are suffering from abuse and neglect and not getting the support they need.

Our calculation is based on the proportion of children who experienced maltreatment at the hands of their parents/carers in the previous year identified through research compared with the number of children who are on a child protection plan or the child protection register. To find out more see our annual report


Sexual abuse Facts and statistics

Official statistics, published annually, show the amount of child sexual abuse recorded by authorities in the year. The problem is much bigger than shown in official statistics, as most crimes are not disclosed and/or reported.

Most sexual abuse isn’t reported, detected or prosecuted. Most children don’t tell anyone that they’re being sexually abused. It’s a crime that is usually only witnessed by the abuser and the victim.

1 in 20 children in the UK have been sexually abused

1 in every 3 children sexually abused by an adult did not tell anyone

Over 90% of sexually abused children were abused by someone they knew

Over 2,800 children were identified as needing protection from sexual abuse last year

14% of contacts to the NSPCC’s helpline last year were concerns about sexual abuse

The NSPCC’s helpline responded to over 8,800 contacts about sexual abuse last year


There were over 11,000 counselling sessions with children & young people who talked to ChildLine in 2015/16 about sexual abuse–Increase of 8% since 2013/14

There were over 3,000 counselling sessions with young people who talked to ChildLine last year about online sexual abuse – an 11% increase on 2013/14.


Over 36,000 sexual offences against children were recorded in the UK last year

Child sexual abuse costs the UK £3.2bn a year

Nearly 30,000 registered offenders have been convicted of offences against children.

Over one third of sexual offences recorded by the police are against children

Please visit N S P C C Website for more information





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