Almost three quarters of calls to NSPCC from the Western Trust area were so serious they had to be referred to police or social services.
Figures released by the charity this week show that calls to the NSPCC helpline from the Western Trust have increased by 28 per cent and than almost half who make a call wait more than a month before reporting concerns about a child.
NSPCC Northern Ireland has launched a campaign in Foyle to encourage more people to contact the free 24 hour, anonymous NSPCC helpline if they, or someone they know, needs advice and support.
The campaign also seeks to raise awareness of the charity’s vital direct work local children and families from across the city.
Margaret Gallagher, Campaigns manager NSPCC Northern Ireland, said: “Foyle is a large and vibrant area and is home to approximately 24,214 children under the age of 16. Most children in the Foyle area are well cared for by people who love them very much.
“However, there are too many children and young people being abused, many of whom may be suffering in silence, utterly reliant upon the adults around them to notice their distress and take action to put a stop to it.”
NSPCC services in Foyle offer vital support for children, parents and carers who need additional support in circumstances of abuse.
The charity is appealing to people in the are to put aside their concerns that they might be making a mistake and seek help and advice straight away if they are worried about a child.
Margaret said: “People are increasingly willing to act if they suspect a child is being abused or neglected. Sadly though, while the right intention is there, some people naturally hesitate. They fear making a mistake or they want to wait until they have more evidence and are certain, which delays a child receiving help.
“Seeking help for yourself or taking action to share concerns is always the right thing to do – whether it’s a child at risk in the street, if you’re worried about a child or if you need help for your own family.”
The NSPCC is running a new awareness campaign across Foyle for the next three weeks encouraging people to talk it over with the charity if they suspect a child needs help.
You can help the NSPCC to support more vulnerable children by texting FOYLE to 70744 to donate £5 to the vital services the charity provides for children affected by sexual abuse, neglect and domestic abuse.
If you are concerned about a child, contact the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000, text 88858 or email email@example.com