Lincolnshire

Reports of child abuse rise in Lincolnshire during Christmas period

Reports of child abuse and neglect in Lincolnshire during the Christmas period rose by 68% in a four-year period.

Child protection charity the NSPCC revealed that its helpline received a total of 76 contacts in December 2015.

By contrast, just 45 reports were received in December 2011.

The most common issues in Lincolnshire in December 2015 were sexual abuse and neglect.

Across the country, the helpline received 3,750 contacts in December 2015, up by a third over four years.

One person got in touch with the helpline with concerns about parents taking drugs and after seeing their children weren’t being cared for.

The caller said: “The mother is holding parties around the house all the time with male strangers in and out of the family home. Sometimes I can smell drugs from the house and I know the children are inside.

“The children are always dirty and look under nourished; I’m really worried for them and I feel helpless. Please can you advise; this has got to stop.”

Another caller reported: “I’m really concerned about a young girl that I know who has started to started to say some worrying things about what happens when she stays over at a male relative’s house in the school holidays.

“I think she might be being sexually abused. She recently told me about a game they play at bedtime where her and the adult male get under the covers and that it’s their little secret.

“She has become much more withdrawn in the last year and I wonder if this is the reason.

“I have tried to raise the concern with family members, but they tell me to mind my own business. What can I do?”

NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: “The festive season should be happy time of year to be shared with loved ones, but sadly that is not the case for all children.

“Abuse doesn’t stop in December and during the holidays children can become isolated from the wider community and their support network. Problems faced throughout the year can be magnified in the run up to Christmas.

“It’s deeply worrying that we are seeing an increase of reports about abuse, but it’s positive that people are vigilant and reporting any concerns they might have about the welfare of a child rather than standing by.”

The NSPCC’s helpline can be contacted 24 hours a day on 0808 800 5000.