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Suffolk has the highest number of child cruelty cases in East of England, NSPCC reveals

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Suffolk recorded the highest number of child cruelty cases in the East of England last year, new figures have revealed.

Figures obtained via a Freedom of Information request, submitted by the NSPCC, show 207 incidents were reported to Suffolk Constabulary between 2021 and 2022.

The child protection charity found there were a total of 544 offences recorded by constabularies in the East of England in 2021/22 - an average of more than one a day.

207 child cruelty cases were reported in Suffolk last year. Picture: iStock
207 child cruelty cases were reported in Suffolk last year. Picture: iStock

A total of 558 offences have been recorded in Suffolk between 2019 and 2022.

The new findings, released on 'Childhood Day', also show there has been a 20 per cent increase in the number of child cruelty and neglect offences in the region.

In Suffolk, there has been 33 per cent increase in the number of cases between 2019 and 2022.

A total of 139 cases were reported to Suffolk Constabulary in 2019/20, 14 more than Norfolk and 100 more than Bedfordshire.

Figures then increased in 2020/21, with Suffolk recording 212 incidents of child cruelty and neglect.

While the number of reported cases in Suffolk did fall by five in 2021/22, it was still the highest number of cases reported in the East of England.

The charity is now calling on people across the region to play their part and report any concerns they may have about a child.

NSPCC CEO Sir Peter Wanless said: “The statistics we have released today demonstrate the worrying scale of abuse and neglect. This must be a priority for the Government.

“The evidence from a series of reviews have shown where and how to better resource and support a child protection system that works better for all those who need it. Now is the time for action.

“But our message isn’t just for politicians. It’s vital to remember that child abuse can be prevented. As thousands of people get behind Childhood Day today, they demonstrate their support for positive change and their willingness to play a part in keeping children safe.”

Detective superintendent Dave Giles, of Suffolk Police, said: “There is no excuse for abuse or cruelty against a child. We know the effects of this harm can be incredibly damaging both physically and emotionally. The protection of all vulnerable people, which includes children, remains a key priority for the force.

“Neglect, cruelty or abuse of a child is often a hidden crime, generally taking place in a family environment, which makes our investigations both challenging and complex.

"Every incident reported is very carefully and individually assessed. Ensuring that children are appropriately safeguarded and protected from harm is our focus here.

“If you think a child is in immediate danger contact us straight away by calling 999.”