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Specialists at Great Ormond Street Hospital have described the rise in child abuse cases during lockdown as a ‘silent pandemic’, as the number of new cases at its head trauma unit has risen by 1,493% compared with the previous three years.

Between March 23 and April 23, the amount of children admitted to Great Ormond Street Hospital with a head injury caused by physical abuse had risen to 10. Usually, this number is fewer than one per month. This increase therefore highlights the extent of the impact of the pressure-cooker environment created by lockdown on children. Furthermore, specialists have expressed concerns that the real number of cases of abuse is likely to be higher due to public avoidance of hospitals during the pandemic.

Clinical examinations of the admitted children revealed symptoms such as bleeding in the eyes, bruising and scalp swelling. X-rays and CAT scans presented brain hemorrhaging, internal bleeding and skull fractures. According to hospital records, half of the children were colic, 40% were on the edge of consciousness and 20% had suffered seizures prior to clinical examination.

In addition to the concerns raised by specialists at Great Ormond Street, NSPCC have reported that the amount of adults concerned about child abuse has increased by nearly 20% during lockdown. Within the first four weeks of lockdown, NSPCC received 2,216 calls about children facing neglect and abuse.

If you know a child or vulnerable person who has suffered abuse during the lockdown, our experienced Abuse team headed by Natalie Marrison are here to help. For a confidential discussion, please contact the Ramsdens Abuse team on 0113 8871 834 or email