NSPCC's child abuse helpline 'referrals on the rise'

Boy with head in hands Image copyright Thinkstock

Calls to a helpline about suspected child abuse, which were referred to the authorities, have risen, according to a charity.

The NSPCC in Scotland said operators referred 1,722 calls to the police and social services in 2015-2016.

Referred calls have risen by 58% in the past three years, up from 1,091 in 2012-2013.

Concerns raised included worries about physical or sexual abuse, children living in poverty, and hungry toddlers.

The charity said the rise in referrals showed the public was increasingly unwilling to turn a blind eye to potential abuse or neglect of children, following high-profile abuse scandals.

Matt Forde, national head of service for NSPCC Scotland, said: "These figures reveal a nation that is more alive to the issues of child abuse following recent high-profile scandals and the ongoing investigation into non-recent child abuse.

"They have become increasingly concerned and aware of the tell-tale signs of abuse and neglect in children".

The 24-hour helpline statistics show physical abuse referrals increased by 49% in the past three years. Sexual abuse referrals rose by 30% and neglect referrals jumped by 61% over the same period.

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