UK & World News
Rise In Emotional Abuse Cases Among Children
The number of emotional neglect and abuse cases referred to authorities has risen by nearly 50% over the past 12 months, according to a leading charity.
The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) says its helpline dealt with more than 8,000 people suffering emotional neglect and abuse this year.
The charity says some 5,354 of these cases were so serious they were referred to police or children's services, compared to 3,629 cases in the previous year.
Peter Wanless, the CEO of the NSPCC, says the statistics show emotional cruelty is not being recognised in the same way as physical abuse.
"It's very easy for us to see physical abuse if a bone gets broken, but the emotional abuse of a child has just that sort of effect on their mind," he said.
NSPCC helplines receive 60,000 calls each year from people who fear children are being mistreated.
They deal with sexual abuse allegations, physical abuse and claims of emotional cruelty.
One solution to the growing issue of emotional cruelty is a change to the law.
Sky News has learned a so-called "Cinderella Law" could see parents who deny their children affection face prosecution.
Robert Buckland MP is hopeful the change will be introduced soon.
He said plans for the new law may be announced in the Queen's Speech.
"I'm very optimistic that in this year's Queen's Speech we will hear this measure being announced," he said.
"It might come in the form of a separate bill; it might come in the form of an amendment to an existing bill going through parliament.
"But I firmly believe and hope and expect to see this welcome reform being announced this week."
However, some are concerned that this law could unfairly prosecute parents.
Parenting author Frank Furedi said: "Throughout history, the best antidote to cruelty was the cultural and educational development of society.
"We need fewer laws and more opportunities for children, and indeed for their parents, to realise their potential."
One man who knows how this abuse can affect children is Morris Robinson, who was emotionally abused by his father.
He says his childhood was devoid of love, affection and support.
"It's hard to describe when you're left to your own devices, but then you get cruel treatment, verbal cruel treatment," he said.
"You wouldn't get any praise for anything and I don't remember him ever going to school to do anything.
"He would swear abuse at me and when you're a child it's always threatening.
"You would ask him to maybe fix your bike and he'd say: 'I've f*****g told you it won't fix'."