Child cruelty cases rose by a quarter as England emerged from lockdown

child cruelty

The figures underscore the unintended impact of Covid-19 measures on abuse surveillance (Image: Getty)

Cases of child abuse and neglect have increased by a quarter in just one year, new figures show.

A rise in crimes against children has been seen as England emerges from Covid-19 lockdowns.

High-profile cases have brought the issue to light, including the tragic case of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes.

The six-year-old died after months of neglect at the hands of father Thomas Hughes and stepmother Emma Tustin.

Less than two weeks later, two women were jailed following the death of 16-month-old Star Hobson, who suffered “catastrophic injuries”.

Frankie Smith, the toddler’s mother, had her initial sentence increased to 12 years for “causing or allowing” the tragedy, while her partner Savannah Brockhill was sentenced to 25 years for murder.

In both cases, concerns have been raised that telltale signs of abuse may have been overlooked during lockdown isolation.

BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE Undated handout photo of 16 month old Star Hobson issued by West Yorkshire Police. Frankie Smith, the mother of murdered toddler Star Hobson, has had her eight-year sentence increased to 12 years in Court of Appeal for causing or allowing her daughter's death. Issue date: Tuesday March 15, 2022. PA Photo. See PA story COURTS Star. Photo credit should read: West Yorkshire Police/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may be used for editorial reporting purposes only to simultaneously illustrate events, things or people in the photo or facts mentioned in the photo caption. Reuse of the image may require further permission from the copyright owner.

Star Hobson died of injuries sustained in her short life by her mother and her mother’s friend (Image: PA)

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children NSPCC has unearthed data confirming that crime has increased.

Requests for information to armed forces across England showed that 26,307 cruelty and neglect offenses were reported in 2021/22.

That’s an average of 72 cases a day and a 25% increase from 21,102 cases a year earlier, the NSPCC said.

Of the 39 police forces in England, 36 responded to the charity’s data requests.

It comes two weeks after the release of a report on Arthur and Star’s deaths, which showed the need for a readjustment of the child protection system.

Undated family photo of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes. Emma Tustin was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum sentence of 29 years at Coventry Crown Court for cruelly starving, poisoning and then murdering her six-year-old stepson. The 32-year-old used serious force to attack the youngster in the hallway of their home in Cranmore Road, Solihull, on 16 June 2020. He died in hospital the following day. Issue date: Friday December 3, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story COURTS Arthur. Photo credit should read: Olivia Labinjo-Halcrow/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may be used for editorial reporting purposes only to accompany the depiction of any event, thing or person depicted in the photo or any fact mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the image may require further permission from the copyright owner.

Starved, poisoned and beaten, Arthur eventually died as a result of repeated neglect and abuse (Image: PA)

Sir Peter Wanless, Chief Executive of the NSPCC, said: “The statistics we released today show the worrying levels of abuse and neglect. This must be a priority for the government.

“The evidence from a number of reviews has shown where and how a child safeguarding system that works better, can be better resourced and supported for all who need it. Now is the time to act.

“But our message is not only aimed at politicians. It is important to remember that child abuse can be prevented.

“Today, as thousands of people stand behind Children’s Day, they are demonstrating their support for positive change and their willingness to help keep children safe.”

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at webnews@metro.co.uk.

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/10/child-cruelty-cases-rose-by-a-quarter-as-england-emerged-from-lockdown-16804460/ Child cruelty cases rose by a quarter as England emerged from lockdown

Justin Scacco

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