Sports Council NI Home Page  >> Child Protection Good Practice >> Child Abuse Happens

Key Statistics on Child Abuse in Northern Ireland[1]


In the year 2000 there were a total of 460,538 children in NI, comprising 27.1% of the population.

Children’s Services 

  • In 2000/01 there were a total of 24,265 referrals made to social services, two thirds of which were in relation to children (16,037). This represents an 11% increase in the total number of referrals from 1998/1999 and a slight decrease in the number of children referred.

  • 43.1% of children’s referrals were in relation to childcare issues while 30.9% were in relation to child protection issues.

Child Protection Investigations 

  • There were 2,360 child protection investigations in 2000/2001, a figure which represents a 20% decrease in the number of child protection investigations carried out in 1998/1999 (2,984) and a 6% decrease from 1999/2000 (2,511).

Child Protection Register 

  • At 31 March 2020 there were 1,414 children on the child protection register, a slight decrease since 1999 (1,463).

  • Percentage of children on the Child Protection Register by category of abuse.

    • Neglect                  47.2%

    • Physical Abuse        36.3%

    • Sexual Abuse          15.3%

    • Emotional Abuse      13.4%

Looked After Children 

  • There were a total of 2414 children ‘Looked After’ in care in 2000/01, a 4% increase from the previous year (2,324).

Data obtained from the PSNI for the year 2000/1[2]   

A total of 4243 offences were reported to the PSNI involving children under 17. These were broken down as follows:- 

  • 3,509 offences against the person comprising 541 classified as murder, manslaughter, wounding and serious assault, a 5% increase from the previous year. 

  • 734 sexual offences comprising 21 buggeries, 86 rapes, 476 indecent assaults, an almost 7% decrease from the previous year. This is mainly accounted for by a decrease in unlawful carnal knowledge, rape, indecent assault and buggery while reporting of the crimes of gross indecency and indecent exposure have risen.

[1] Key Indicators of Personal Social Services for Northern Ireland 2002 DHSSPS

[2] Source PSNI Central Statistics Unit 


Questions or problems regarding this web site should be directed to [email protected].
Copyright © 2006 Sports Council for Northern Ireland. All rights reserved.
Last modified: Thursday March 23, 2020.