2,100 Children In Wales At Risk Of Child Abuse

More than 2,100 children in Wales are at risk of physical, sexual and emotional abuse, a charity warns today. The shocking figure of the number of children on the at-risk register comes as the NSPCC Cymru launches its latest campaign to encourage people to act.

{mosimage}The charity is urging people to contact its helpline if they are concerned about the welfare of a child they know. One in five calls to the child protection helpline are about the neglect of a child. A further 17% of calls were about sexual abuse.

And the majority of calls are made by concerned members of the public, although one in 20 were made by a child themselves.

Chris O’Marah, manager of the NSPCC Cymru child protection helpline, said, “More than 2,000 children in Wales are known to be at risk of abuse right now and there are many more that we don’t know about.

“Our research shows that only one in four abused children will feel able to tell anyone about it at the time. Child abuse happens in every community and it is our responsibility as adults to speak out about any concerns that we may have”.

The new NSPCC campaign, launched today – “Don’t keep it to yourself – Do something” – is aimed at people about the welfare of a child and urges them to contact the helpline.

Alun, a worried relative, was one of thousands of people to call the helpline. His niece had recently revealed that she was being sexually abused by her mother’s boyfriend while she was out at work in the evenings. The police were notified immediately and the boyfriend is now in custody awaiting a preliminary court hearing.

Alun was concerned about the safety of his sister and her children as they were living alone in the house and were feeling vulnerable and frightened about what had happened. The alleged abuser had a large support network in the area who were defending his name and portraying the children’s mother as a liar.

Alun wanted to know what steps he could take to ensure their safety and was very anxious about the “shame” that the trial would bring on his own family, who he felt had failed to protect the child by not supporting her.

The child protection helpline counsellor advised Alun to seek legal advice and provided him with the appropriate NSPCC and social services contacts so that he could get support for his sister and her family during and after the trial.

Mr O’Marah said, “Most people who get in touch with the helpline simply need information, advice or some other forms of support.”

Roy Noble will voice the NSPCC Cymru’s radio adverts and posters about the helpline will be sent to schools, hospitals, GP surgeries and rugby clubs throughout the country.