Updated: Apr 7
London (CNN)Children as young as 10 are whitening their faces to avoid being subjected to racist abuse in Britain, a child protection group has warned, as police struggle to stem a rising tide of hate crimes against minors.
A total of 10,571 racially-motivated hate crimes against children -- an average of 29 a day -- were recorded by police in 2017-18, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) found. Toddlers and even babies were among those targeted.
That number is now a fifth higher than it was just three years ago, and is growing at a rate of about 1,000 new crimes a year.The charity's report, based on police records in regions across Britain, highlights the scale and breadth of racism in the deeply divided nation.
Since the Brexit referendum in 2016, the crisis has swelled so severely that children yet to reach their first birthday are counted among the victims."I've been bullied ever since I started school. The bullies call me nasty names; it makes me feel so ashamed. My friends won't hang out with me anymore because people started asking why they were friends with someone who had dirty skin," one 10-year-old girl said.
The findings mirror an overall rise in racist hate crimes in the UK, which jumped significantly after the Brexit vote and have not subsided since. A total of 71,251 were recorded in England and Wales in 2017-18, a 14% increase compared to the previous year."These children have been made to feel shame and guilt and sometimes daren't tell their mums or dads about it because they don't want to worry or hurt their feelings. I want every child to know that this bullying is not OK, they have nothing to be ashamed of.