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Issues to consider when looking at child abuse statistics

Topics: Safeguarding and child protection

We don't know exactly how many children experience abuse. Child abuse often goes unreported and unrecorded.

However data is available on abuse that has been recorded by services that work with children, and various research studies provide data on children’s and adults’ self-reported experiences of abuse.

Although these statistics can help us to build up a picture of the scale of abuse, it’s important to remember that all data sources have their limitations. This factsheet sets out some of the key issues to consider when looking at child abuse statistics.

Published: July 2018

> Find out more about child abuse statistics

What it covers

This factsheet covers issues to consider when:

  • using service data
  • using self-report data
  • looking at trends in data
  • comparing statistics across different areas - at local level, across the UK and around the world.