Latest figures show 14% drop in reported cases of child cruelty in Lancashire
As figures on reports of child abuse soar, Lancashire has bucked the trend by reporting a 14 per cent decrease in calls to the NPSCC.
The NSPCC says the number of child cruelty and neglect cases recorded by police in England has increased by 75 per cent in the last 10 years, with 8,506 offences in 2014-15, compared to 4,855 in 2005-06.
But in Lancashire, a Freedom of Information request showed in 2014-15 there were 103 child cruelty and neglect cases – a drop of 14 per cent from 2012-13.
One local survivor of child abuse has met the news with scepticism, fearing it means a massive underreporting.
The 34-year-old suffered physical cruelty and sexual abuse at the hands of her stepfather James Cooke, 53, of Greenwood, Bamber Bridge.
She bravely waived her right to anonymity to encourage other victims of child cruelty to come forward and seek help.
Cooke was found guilty of indecent assault, attempted rape, and three counts of raping her in a court case earlier this year and was jailed for 25 years. Cooke’s former partner, Angela Johnson, 51, of Great Meadow, Chorley was found guilty of ill treating her and jailed for 18 months.
Their victim says: “I don’t believe these figures are a true reflection of what’s going on in Lancashire.
“I was taken from my parents aged four and put in foster care, but then put back with my perpetrators. If that is happening it allows the perpetrators to become clever with how they explain away things.
“I think these figures show it is underreported.
“I would urge any victim please, don’t leave it as long as I did to tell anyone.”
An NSPCC spokesperson said: “Child neglect is a concern whether it’s one case or 100 cases. Neglect simply does not belong in the 21st century.”
“It is the most common form of abuse in the UK and can wreak havoc on a child’s brain development, emotional well-being, ability to form relationships, and mental health.”
Lancashire County Councillor Matthew Tomlinson, cabinet member for children, young people and schools, said: “Tackling child cruelty and neglect is always a priority for the county council.
“We work closely with the police and other organisations to identify and deal with any cases quickly and encourage people to report cruelty and neglect.”
To report child abuse or neglect, visit gov.uk/reportchildabuse or contact Lancashire County Council on 0300 123 6720, or 0300 123 6722 outside office hours.