SHOCKING statistics have shown that reports of child abuse have soared in the region since national lockdown measures were first introduced.
The figures from the NSPCC show the average monthly number of referrals from the charity’s helpline on the issue has increased by 83 per cent in the West Midlands.
The charity has analysed its data from April to November and has found the level of concern about emotional abuse, neglect, and physical abuse remain well above the pre-pandemic average.
Since April, the helpline has received 31,359 contacts from adults across the UK anxious about child abuse or neglect, referring half of those onto external agencies, such as the police and social services to take further action.
This has led to an average monthly number of referrals of 307 since the start of the first lockdown compared to 168 prior to lockdown in the West Midlands.
In the eight months from March to October, there have been 2,458 referrals made in the region about child abuse.
The NSPCC issued the findings as a warning to show how the Coronavirus could put even more children at risk.
A concerned adult told the NSPCC helpline they were concerned for three children they believed were being emotionally abused and neglected.
The concerned person said the police were recently called to the family home because the mother was drunk and had left the children at home alone all night.
“The father, who no longer lives with the children, found out and came to the house saying he was going to take the children home with him.”
Kamaljit Thandi, Head of NSPCC helpline said: “These figures highlight the increase in the number of adults reaching out with concerns about the welfare of children since the first national lockdown began.”
The NSPCC wants the Government to invest in long-term funding to support children and help them recover from adverse and traumatic experiences during lockdown and to rebuild their lives.
The charity’s team of professionals working on its helpline for concerned adults and the dedicated volunteer counsellors at Childline played a vital role in being here for children over the festive season.
Pauline, a volunteer counsellor at Childline, said: “The pandemic has had a huge impact on young people and for the many who will have nowhere else to turn, we will provide a vital listening ear.”
Adults concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC helpline seven days a week throughout the festive period on 0808 800 5000, or email email@example.com