How many children die due to abuse or neglect?
This briefing looks at what data and statistics are available about child deaths due to abuse or neglect.
Official measures are likely to be underestimations of the number of children who die due to abuse or neglect for a number of reasons, including:
- the legal complexity of proof of homicide
- misdiagnosed cause of death
- abuse not being the immediate cause of death, but being a contributing factor
- cause of death remaining unknown or unexplained.
However, based on the number of child homicides recorded by the police each year, we know that, on average, at least one child is killed a week in the UK.
Findings from the data
- In the last five years there was an average of 62 child deaths a year by assault or undetermined intent in the UK.
- Children under the age of one are the most likely age group to be killed by another person, followed by 16- to 24-year-olds.
- Child homicides are most commonly caused by the child’s parent or step-parent; whilst adolescent homicides are most commonly caused by a stranger, friend or acquaintance. https://learning.nspcc.org.uk/research-resources/statistics-briefings/child-deaths-abuse-neglect