RECORDED child cruelty and neglect offences in Scotland rose by more than a quarter over the last year, a charity has said.

The NSPCC reported there were 818 child cruelty offences recorded in 2018-19, a 28% increase on the 640 recorded in 2017-18.

Offences reported to police included incidents of parents or carers deliberately neglecting, assaulting, abandoning or exposing their child to serious harm and unnecessary suffering.

The NSPCC has launched a Christmas appeal to raise awareness of child neglect and abuse.

The campaign, titled the Light For Every Childhood Christmas Appeal, will see the charity call for donations to help it provide for children suffering from neglect and abuse over the festive season and all year round.

Glasgow’s SSE Hydro will also be lit up green on Sunday in support of the campaign.

Matt Forde, head of service for NSPCC Scotland, pictured, said: “Greater public awareness and improvements in police recording could be factors in this increase, but deeper societal issues such as increasing pressure on parents and a lack of investment in early intervention and support services, are leaving more children vulnerable and exposed to pain and suffering.

“Whatever the reasons for the rise, cruelty to children is never ok and it is vital that they always have a place they can go to seek help and support, day and night. Childline never stops and never sleeps, but for this to continue we need the public’s support and to back our ‘Light for Every Childhood’ Appeal.”

To donate go to NSPCC’s website.