The Office for National Statistics in England has published a report on the extent and nature of child abuse in the UK, calling it “ONS’s first attempt to fill an important evidence gap” on the issue.

The report says that one in five adults in England and Wales have experienced at least one form of abuse (emotional, physical, sexual, or witnessing domestic violence) before the age of sixteen, with just under half of those people having experienced more than one type of abuse.

The release contains lots of useful information, including the reminder that there is still no specific offence of child abuse in law, in England and Wales. At the moment, child abuse is fragmented across a variety of offences including modern slavery, human trafficking, female genital mutilation, child sexual exploitation, and witnessing domestic violence or abuse.

The data for this report was collected with the assistance of the Department for Education, the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC), National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) and the Welsh government.

The release is divided into eight different sections, which we’ve added below:

  1. Main points
  2. What is child abuse?
  3. Things you need to know about this release
  4. What do we know about the prevalence of abuse during childhood?
  5. Child abuse cases that come to the attention of children’s services
  6. Use of child abuse support services
  7. Characteristics of victims of child abuse
  8. Quality and methodology

The summary for the release explains that the picture offered is only a partial one, has many instance of child abuse remain unreported, or are reported some time after the abuse takes place.

The release’s ONS page also offers helpline numbers for anyone who may need support, which we’ve also included here:

You can read the release in full, here. 

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