Physical abuse: statistics briefing

Publication date 2021

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.

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.

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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 160,000 offences related to child physical abuse recorded by police in England, Wales and Northern Ireland in 2019/20.
  • Physical abuse is the second most commonly mentioned form of abuse in both contacts to the NSPCC helpline and Childline counselling sessions.

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