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Shock rise in child abuse

PUBLISHED: 11:56 17 January 2002 | UPDATED: 11:11 03 March 2010

A SHOCK report has revealed an alarming surge in the number of child abuse cases in Suffolk.

It detailed a startling increase in incidents of abuse and neglect - which has cost the lives of three children and inflicted "very serious" injuries on others - in the past two years.

A SHOCK report has revealed an alarming surge in the number of child abuse cases in Suffolk.

It detailed a startling increase in incidents of abuse and neglect - which has cost the lives of three children and inflicted "very serious" injuries on others - in the past two years.

The report said there was an "acute lack of qualified social workers" within the county and social services were under a "major strain", particularly in Ipswich and Lowestoft.

Suffolk County Council's caring and protection theme panel meet on Tuesday to discuss the report, which revealed:

the number of children on the child protection register in Suffolk rose by 23% between March and December last year from 413 to 507

most of the children on the child protection register remain at home with their families, but about 25% are under council care due to the level of risk

during 2000/01, there were 1,601 referrals to social services of child abuse, of which police jointly investigated 993 cases

the numbers of children looked after by social services between March and December jumped by almost 10% to a new high of 700

since April 2000, the Suffolk Area Child Protection Committee has reviewed eight cases where a child had died or suffered a serious injury

none of those children were on Suffolk's child protection register and two of the three children who died were not known to social services before their deaths.

Peter Tempest, acting director of the county council's social care services, said the number of child victims of neglect and physical, sexual and emotional abuse had risen more sharply in Suffolk than in the national trend.

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