The NSPCC Scotland charity has revealed that they have seen a 44.5 per cent increase in referrals - including 15 referrals in Angus in 2012/2013.
Statistics released by the charity, showed calls to it’s helpline increased by 30 per cent last year, alongside the 44.5 per cent increase in police and social work referrals.
It was also revealed that 50 per cent of Scottish callers in the same time period waited over a month before reporting their concerns, with a further quarter of people waiting for over six months before contacting the NSPCC.
Matt Forde, national head of service for NSPCC Scotland, said that while it was encouraging that so many people were prepared to take steps to help vulnerable children and families, a brief hesitation could feel like a lifetime for a child suffering abuse or neglect.
He explained: “These figures demonstrate very clearly the important role of the NSPCC helpline in identifying families and children in need of support in Scotland.
“Without the willingness of friends, families and communities to take action, children affected by abuse and neglect might never enjoy the childhood they deserve.
“Last year, the majority of those whose contacts resulted in a referral were members of the public (59 per cent). Given the need for each and every one of us to take responsibility for child protection, this is certainly heartening.
“We would urge anyone with concerns to reach out immediately, and it’s important to understand that if you are mistaken, a family will not be separated.
“Trained and experienced child protection practitioners will tactfully investigate before any action is taken. You can’t be expected to know for certain and that’s where the NSPCC can help.”
Neglect was the leading cause for referrals in Scotland in 2012/13 – 46 per cent, with physical abuse and sexual abuse also reported as significant concerns.
Matt continued: “The helpline isn’t just for reporting concerns, it’s also there for anyone who feels they could do with some advice or support. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone or send an email – we’re here to help.”
Anyone worried about a child, or in need of support, can contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, text 88858 or email email@example.com 24/7. Calls can be anonymous.