CASES of abuse and neglect in Barnsley have risen by 119 per cent according to a charity which aims to prevent cruelty to children.

Figures provided by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children show a spike in cases, from 404 in 2013/14 to 888 in 2014/15.

The statistics have come from government research into the characteristics of children in need.

However, Rachel Dickinson, the council’s executive director for people, said the rise was because of improvements in identifying children in need earlier.

She said: “Historically, Barnsley reported very low numbers of children in need, with rates lower than those national, regional and our statistical neighbours.

“This changed in 2014 and is directly related to the improvements the service has made, in identifying children in need early and responding to them at the right time. This improvement was noted in the 2014 Ofsted inspection.

“Whilst Barnsley’s children in need rates remain lower than our statistical neighbours, we believe that together with partner agencies, we are providing more timely early help, targeted support and safeguarding services for our most vulnerable children.”