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00Nov19a One in fourteen children


'One in 14' children attacked

One in 14 young people have been violently assaulted as children, in most cases at the hands of their parents, according to a major report. A study of almost 3,000 18- to 24-year-olds, carried out for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, shows that the vast majority have been either kicked, punched, choked, burnt or threatened with a knife at home. One in 14 have suffered serious physical abuse while one in 100 were sexually assaulted by their parents. A further 6% were seriously neglected, being frequently deprived of food, medical care and clean clothes. The report found that almost 80% of violent attacks occur in the home, with assault at school or in the street less common. In most cases, the attacks were carried out by the mother, 52%, compared with 45% by fathers. Bruising was the most common injury but in many instances the young people reported having bones broken or suffering head injuries, bites and burns. And girls were more likely to have been seriously physically abused as children compared with boys. The report shows that they were more likely to have suffered sustained abuse, in many cases throughout their childhood, while boys were more likely to have been assaulted occasionally. The report found that children whose parents worked in semi-skilled or unskilled jobs were three times more likely to have suffered serious physical abuse than those whose parents were professionals. And they were 10 times more likely to have been seriously neglected than children whose parents were professionals.

Worrying Mary Marsh, NSPCC chief executive, described the findings as worrying. "This research shows that home represents happiness and safety for most children, which is their right. "However, for a large minority of children, home is where the hurt is." She added: "The fact that at least two children from every class will at some point in their childhood go home to punches, kicks and other serious abuse should move us all into action." Ms Marsh called on the government to appoint children's commissioners throughout the UK. At the moment, only Wales has created such an office to act in the interests of children. "Every child has the right to a childhood free from abuse and neglect," said Ms Marsh. "Powerful and independent children's commissioners must now be appointed to ensure that these and future findings do not gather dust on the shelves of policy-makers and professionals."


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