CHILD cruelty and neglect offences across the south have soared by more than 80 per cent over the past five years, the NSPCC has revealed.

A total of 4,114 offences were recorded by police in London and the south east in 2017/18 - up from 2,276 in 2012/13.

The figure for Hampshire has risen from 69 to 738 during the same period.

To raise awareness of child neglect – the most common type of abuse affecting children in the UK - the NSPCC has launched its Light For Every Childhood Christmas Appeal.

Last night<MON> the Houses of Parliament and BT Tower became the latest UK landmarks to show their support by lighting up in the charity’s trademark green.

One NSPCC helpline practitioner described a recent referral she made to police.

Tracey Hamer said: “The police went to do a welfare check and later told me a mum had been found unwell and unable to care for her three-year-old daughter.

“The house was in a state of disrepair and the kitchen worktops were covered in dirty crockery with mould on them.

"The washing machine was broken. The mum said water would come up through the pipes when she tried to use it, so she couldn’t clean any clothes."

The NSPCC's appeal is calling for donations to its helpline so it can be there for children suffering from neglect at Christmas and all year round.

Peter Wanless, the charity's chief executive, said: “It’s unclear exactly why the number of child neglect and cruelty offences has risen so dramatically, but greater public awareness and improvements in how police record offences could be factors.

“Whatever the reasons for the increase, there is something we can all do about it now.

"We need to be aware of vulnerable children and be ready to contact the NSPCC or the authorities if we're concerned for their safety or wellbeing.

“We're appealing to the generous nature of the public to support our Light For Every Childhood Christmas Appeal to help us be there for even more young people in need.”

Adults concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC helpline seven days a week on 0808 800 5000, or email


t: 023 8042 4503

e: chris.yandell@