There is now further confirmation of the ‘lockdown effect’ on children in England and Wales. Compared to the same period in 2019, there is in 2020 a marked rise (+27%) in the most serious incidents of suspected child abuse.
Local authorities must report all incidents of death or serious harm involving children in their area. These are called serious incident notifications. The notifications are recorded by the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel and published. The Panel received 285 serious incident notifications from April to September 2020: this is a 27% increase compared to the previous year. According to the data:
- Child deaths increased from 89 to 119 (an increase of more than 33%)
- Cases of serious harm increased from 132 to 153 (an increase of almost 16%)
- Cases of serious harm involving children under one increased by 30%
|April 2018 – September 2018||April 2019 – September 2019||April 2020 – September 2020||Evolution 2018 – 2019||Evolution 2019 – 2020||Evolution 2018 – 2020|
|Serious harm incidents||135||132||153||-2%||+16%||+13%|
|Other (inc. child perpetrators)||22||4||13||-81%||+325%||-41%|
Notifications had decreased between 2018 and 2019, but overall, there is an increase of reported serious harm incidents (+4%) between 2018 and 2020. What remains to be seen is whether more incidents occurred, but have remained hidden from view so far.