NSPCC reports huge rise in harrowing child abuse calls serious enough to be passed on to police

NSPCC reports huge rise in harrowing child abuse calls serious enough to be passed on to police

Callers to the North East NSPCC helpline reported abuse and
neglect so bad that third parties like police or councils had to
intervene

Tom Hull
New figures reveal more than two sex-based crimes are reported to the region's officers every day - picture posed by model
Sad scared children from NSPCC
A children’s charity says the number of harrowing reports of child abuse it receives has dramatically increased.
According
to the NSPCC, the number of calls to its helpline number serious enough
to merit a call to the police or social services has sky-rocketed over
the past three years.
This year, more than 1,000 calls made to
the charity in the seven North East local authorities were passed on to
external agencies — compared to just over 600 in 2012/13.
In County Durham,
the authority with the most calls in the region, a total of 282 reports
were sent on to police or the local council last year, compared to 161
in 2012/13.
The shocking stories told to helpline counsellors
include children suffering from physical, emotional and sexual abuse,
neglected toddlers left to starve and even reports of young children
being forced into slavery.
The charity said the figures suggest the public is increasingly refusing to turn a blind eye to child abuse.
Brad Sturrock, a telephone engineer from Gateshead,
was one such concerned bystander, who called the NSPCC number for help
when he came across a toddler he feared was being neglected.
After
visiting a customer’s house to install satellite television, Brad was
so disgusted by the smell of the filthy home he almost refused to
complete the job.

He said: “There were empty pizza boxes and beer cans on the
floor, food with mould growing on it and cat excrement everywhere. The
place was full of flies and there was that much rubbish that I was
wading through it and I had to clear a space to put my tool box down.”
As he was working, Brad was appalled to discover the couple had a young daughter living with them in these squalid conditions.
He
said: “From the mess of the place I hadn’t thought for one moment that
there were any children in the house. It wasn’t the place for children
as it was so unhygienic and when I saw her my heart just sank.
“She looked unhappy and was very dishevelled.”
Brad new he wouldn’t feel comfortable leaving the little girl in that filthy state, so he contacted the NSPCC.
He
said: “By the look of the place they hadn’t had visitors in a while and
I was worried that if I didn’t get the girl help no-one else would see
how she was living. I couldn’t have had it on my conscience if I hadn’t
done anything.”
After Brad called the helpline, they quickly
passed his worries on to police offices, who worked with child services
to remove the toddler from the unhygienic conditions.
Thanks to
the call, she was moved to live with her grandmother, until things had
changed at home and it was safe for her to return.
Peter Wanless,
CEO of the NSPCC, said: “These figures reveal a nation that is more
alive to the issues of child abuse following recent high profile
scandals and the ongoing investigation into non-recent child abuse.
“When
people are worried, and feel they need to speak to someone, they can be
reassured they will be listened to and taken seriously.”
Adults can contact the helpline 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on 0808 800 5000, by texting 88858 or visiting www.nspcc.org .

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