Violence against young children rises by 20 per cent

The number of children under 11 who are treated in hospital after being assaulted has risen by 20 per cent in the past year, according to latest research.

This follows an increase of eight per cent in violence-related injuries among this age group recorded between 2008 and 2009.

The figures are released annually by Cardiff University’s Violence and Society Research Group and are based on data from 59 emergency departments and minor injury units in England and Wales.

The group’s director Professor Jonathan Shepherd said the latest figures show a “disturbing upward trend in violence against children”.

He said: “The figures highlight the need for child safeguarding to remain a national priority.” 

He also hopes that the Munro Review into child protection ensures action is taken to improve the quality of safeguarding services.

The increase in violence-related injuries against young children comes in contrast to other age groups, where the number of incidents fell.

During 2010, 313,033 people in England and Wales needed treatment following an assault, a 10.8 per cent drop on figures released in 2009. There were particularly large falls among teenagers and young adults, although those in the 18 to 30 age group continue to be the most likely victims.

Violence-related injuries sustained by 11- to 17-year-olds dropped by 16.5 per cent between 2009 and 2010.

Professor Shepherd added that this decrease in violence against teenagers has been happening for several years. More targeted policing and the creation of crime prevention partnerships have been key factors in this decline, he added.