Child deaths due to abuse or neglect: statistics briefing

Topics: Safeguarding and child protection

This briefing looks at what data and statistics are available about child deaths due to abuse or neglect. 

How many children die due to abuse or neglect?

Official measures are likely to be underestimations of the number of children who die due to abuse or neglect for a number of reasons, including:

  • the legal complexity of proof of homicide
  • misdiagnosed cause of death
  • abuse not being the immediate cause of death, but being a contributing factor
  • cause of death remaining unknown or unexplained.

However, based on the number of child homicides recorded by the police each year, we know that on average at least one child is killed a week in the UK.

> Download the briefing for more information (PDF)

Findings from the data

  • In the last five years there was an average of 68 child deaths a year in the UK by assault or undetermined intent.
  • Children under the age of one are the most likely age group to be killed by another person, followed by young men.
  • Child homicides are most commonly caused by the child’s parent or step-parent.