Welsh children at risk: lockdown sees a surge in child abuse cases

A leading children’s charity warns of a 13% rise in physical and emotional abuse of young people in Wales

Young people who experience domestic abuse can have depression (photo by NSPCC)

Over 215 Welsh children have been the victims of domestic abuse each month during lockdown, according to the latest data from a leading children’s charity. 

Against the backdrop of the pandemic, 1,934 counselling sessions have been delivered to children and young people from Wales on this issue between April and December 2020. NSPCC is National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, which has statutory powers to protect children from abuse.

Vivienne Laing who comes from NSPCC Cymru / Wales said: “The risk of domestic abuse has been heightened in the last nine months with families living under increasing pressure and behind closed doors.

“With schools now shut again and children spending more time behind closed doors,” said Dame Esther Rantzen, who is the staff of NSPCC, “Many young people, especially those in unsafe homes, are feeling desperately anxious and depressed, School can be the only safe haven they know, and without that support they feel entirely alone.”    

Children can get touch and ask help on the website of NPSCC (photo by NPSCC)

Child abuse can take many forms according to NSPCC. It can be emotional, physical, sexual or neglect. And it can happen to any child, in any family, in any place or online. Young people who experience domestic abuse can have, trouble learning, depression or suicidal thoughts, or develop eating disorders drugs or alcohol problems.

“Recently my mum has been yelling at me and calling me names for no apparent reason. My parents fight a lot, like really a lot,” said one of a 13-year-old child, “My dad overreacts but mum makes the situation worse.”

“My parents don’t talk anymore and they treat me like their little messenger passing comments between them. It is really affecting me as I constantly feel anxious and cry myself to sleep. I really need help.”

A 12-year-old girl from Wales said: “My dad has left and cut off all contact with me and it has really affected me, I tried to tell my mum how I feel, but she didn’t listen or understand, it was like she didn’t care.”

“Dad abused and cheated on mum so I guess she finds it hard to hear that I miss him. I need help as I keep thinking about running away.”

Adult volunteers provide help online for children in NSPCC (photo by NPSCC)

Children can call Childline to get help on 0800 11 11 from 7.30 am to 3.30 am from Monday to Friday or 9 am to 3.30 am on weekends. Or they can get in touch via https://www.childline.org.uk/