Child abuse is a global problem with potentially serious life-long consequences, which has been recognised by the World Health Organisation. Measuring the extent and nature is difficult because it is usually hidden from view and comes in many forms. There is no single data source which measures the current prevalence of child abuse in the UK.

Data are key to understanding the prevalence, causes, nature and effects of child abuse. If we cannot learn and understand this, child abuse cannot be prevented, and we cannot ensure children and adults receive the support they need.

Therefore, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) have been assessing the feasibility of a survey measuring the prevalence of child abuse in the UK.

If you are interested in this indicator please see the Office for National Statistics and NatCen Social research feasibility surverys.

Moving forward the ONS, alongside the Crime Survery for England and Wales, see a pilot study being essential to understand and assess the quality of data a survey would achieve. For further information regarding the progress of this survey please contact

This table provides metadata for the actual indicator available from UK statistics closest to the corresponding global SDG indicator. Please note that even when the global SDG indicator is fully available from UK statistics, this table should be consulted for information on national methodology and other UK-specific metadata information.

Indicator available
Indicator description
Geographical coverage
Unit of measurement
Available disaggregations
Other information

Data follows the UN specification for this indicator. This indicator has been identified in collaboration with topic experts.

Data last updated 18 April 2019
Metadata last updated 17 May 2022

This table provides information on metadata for SDG indicators as defined by the UN Statistical Commission. Complete global metadata is provided by the UN Statistics Division.

Indicator name

Proportion of children aged 1–17 years who experienced any physical punishment and/or psychological aggression by caregivers in the past month

Target name

End abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against and torture of children

Global indicator description
UN designated tier

Tier II

UN custodian agency

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEFF)

Link to UN metadata United Nations Sustainable Development Goals metadata for target 16.2 opens in a new window