Child cruelty report to Cleveland Police 'every two days' during pandemic
Police in the the Cleveland force area logged a child cruelty case every two days during the pandemic, new figures show.
Home Office data shows 184 reports of child cruelty were reported in the Cleveland Police area in 2020-21.
This was up from 123 the year before and the number of offences logged during that time is 63% higher than the 113 recorded in 2012-13 – when records began.
Nationally – and despite the challenge of identifying some of those at risk because of lockdowns and school closures – child cruelty offences leapt by 12% to a record 25,000 last year and have almost quadrupled since 2012-13, with forces recording more than 130,000 crimes.
Of those, 1,071 were logged by Cleveland Police.
The National Police Chiefs' Council and children's charity the NSPCC says there is more to be done to protect children.
Pierre Hyman, senior policy officer at the NSPCC, called for Government investment to strengthen safeguarding and ensure authorities work together to tackle the issue.
He added: "We need political leadership on ensuring child abuse victims are supported in the criminal justice system."
The National Police Chiefs' Council's lead for child protection, deputy chief constable Ian Critchley, said: "We encourage anyone who believes a child is being abused to report their concerns, no matter how small they seem."
A Government spokeswoman said it provided £11m to the See, Hear, Respond programme, which aimed to support vulnerable young people during the pandemic andalso made £1.8m available to the NSPCC to expand and promote its helpline.