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Physical abuse: statistics briefing

Publication date April 2024

How many children experience physical abuse?

It's unknown how many children in the UK experience physical abuse.

However, research with 2,275 young people aged 11-17 about their experiences of physical abuse suggests around 1 in 14 children in the UK have been physically abused.1

This briefing collates information from a number of different sources and looks at what data and statistics are available about physical abuse to help you make evidence-based decisions in your role and organisation.

You’ll also find data from services which work with children and research into children's and adults' self-reported experiences, which help build up a picture of the scale of physical abuse.


Radford, L. et al (2011) Child abuse and neglect in the UK today. London: NSPCC.
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Key findings from the data

  • Concerns around physical abuse have been identified for around 1 in 10 children who are the subject of a child protection plan or on a child protection register in the UK.
  • There were over 200,000 offences related to child physical abuse recorded by police in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2022/2023. Equivalent data is not available for Scotland.
  • Physical abuse is the second most commonly mentioned form of abuse in both contacts to the NSPCC Helpline and Childline counselling sessions.