Child abuse prevalent in Devon and Somerset

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Call the Slee Blackwell helpline on 0808 139 1606 click to call or email us

Information recently published by the NSPCC show that the work of children’s charities is as important as ever.

It can be easy to assume that child abuse, poverty and neglect happens elsewhere,  but the reality is that these issues are everywhere in our society and affect many children in our rural region.

For example:-

  • Last year Avon & Somerset police recorded 1118 sexual offences against children
  • 555 children in Somerset were subject to a child protection plan last year
  • There are 870 children in care in Somerset

These figures represent the tip of an extremely troubling iceberg, with the NSPCC estimating that for each child in the UK identified as needing protection from abuse there are another 8 unidentified children who are suffering abuse.

Organisations such as the NSPCC continue to fight to keep children safe and to help repair damage that has been done by abuse and neglect.

The NSPCC has visited 103 schools in Somerset with their Speak Out. Stay Safe campaign. These volunteers have talked to over 7,500 children about their absolute right to be safe. There are another 233 schools in Somerset and the NSPCC aims to visit them all.

Their Childline volunteers delivered over 300,000 counselling sessions to children and young people in the UK last year. It is estimated that over 4,000 of these children were in Somerset.

The NSPCC’s helpline is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is for adults to seek advice or share concerns they may have about a child. This can be done anonymously. The helpline received 733 calls and emails about children in Somerset in 2015/16. Of these 558 were referred to external organisations for investigation and support. It is absolutely vital that people do not ignore their concerns about a child or assume that “someone else” will deal with it to ensure that children in abusive situations are protected.

As well as telephone support and education the NSPCC helps families in Somerset with face-to-face support. This can be when they are struggling with extremely challenging situations such as illness (both physical and mental) and overcoming addition. There is also face-to-face support for children who have been sexually abused with the Letting The Future In service.

Our team of child abuse lawyers see the long term devastation that childhood abuse and neglect can wreak on a person’s life. We are proud to support the NSPCC in the hope that abuse can be prevented. Last year we were delighted to raise over £4,000 with our 24 hour cycling event Breaking The Cycle and we are honoured to be able to offer ongoing support with our lawyers Elizabeth Duncan and Rachel Thain volunteering for the Somerset West branch of the NSPCC. Plans are afoot for more fundraising events in the future.

The NSPCC relies on supporters for 90% of their income and so fundraising is absolutely essential to protect children. It costs £9.00 to reach 3 children with the Speak Out, Stay Safe programme. £4.00 will answer a call to Childline.

If you are able to donate to the NSPCC please do so here:-

If you have been affected by abuse or neglect we may be able to assist with a civil claim for compensation. At Slee Blackwell we can assist with claims against individuals as well as a range of institutions such as schools, residential homes, clubs, churches and local authorities. We will listen to your story with patience and treat you with respect, compassion and sensitivity.

We understand that victims of abuse often repress experiences until adulthood and we are experienced in dealing with cases involving historic abuse. We appreciate how hard it can be for survivors to approach a solicitor or reveal the full details of their case to a stranger and we aim to make the process as simple and as painless as possible.

We operate a FREE Abuse Helpline so victims can call a child abuse lawyer in complete confidence and without obligation. We have a number of flexible funding options, including our popular No Win – No Fee scheme, so fear of legal costs should never deter a victim of abuse seeking justice. Call 01272 372128 or email us at [email protected]

You can also visit our specialist website for further information at and for details about making a criminal injuries CICA claim under the government funded scheme go to