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Reports of child neglect up 20% in Suffolk and 60% in Norfolk

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Reports of child neglect are on the rise in Suffolk and Norfolk, accounting for the highest number of referrals to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), it has emerged.

The NSPCC helpline has seen a 40 per cent increase nationwide in the number of calls serious enough to refer to external agencies such as councils and police amid rising reports of neglect and physical abuse.

New figures from the free 24-hour helpline show 33,333 contacts were passed on in 2015/16 – nearly 100 a day – compared with 23,733 in 2012/13 when the Jimmy Savile sex abuse scandal first came to light.

In Suffolk referrals are up by 28 per cent – from 139 in 2012/13 to 167 in 2015/16 – and 61 per cent in Norfolk – from 332 in 2012/13 to 535 in 2015/16.

Concerns about child neglect make up the highest number of calls from the public, up 20 per cent in Suffolk – from 139 in 2012/13 to 167 last year – and 60 per cent in Norfolk – from 143 in 2012/13 to 228 last year.

Calls about physical abuse are also on the rise, up 11 per cent in Suffolk – from 89 in 2012/13 to 99 last year – and 60 per cent in Norfolk – from 76 in 2012/13 to 122 last year.

The charity says the figures reflect an increasing refusal for the public to turn a blind eye when it comes to the welfare of children, and a growing demand for advice and action to prevent child abuse.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC CEO, 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 and our helpline is an invaluable service for people worried about the safety of a young person.

“But when people are worried, and feel they need to speak to someone, they can be reassured they will be listened to and taken seriously.”

The NSPCC helpline provides adults with a place they can get advice and support, share their concerns about a child or get general information about child protection.

It can be contacted 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 0808 800 5000, by texting 88858 or visiting www.nspcc.org.uk

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