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Handling Disclosures of Child Abuse

Only a minority of children and young people actively disclose abuse. Most child abuse is disclosed accidently or though observation by an adult of a child or young person’s behaviour, words and physical appearance.

When a child or young person discloses abuse, this needs to be taken very seriously. It is important that any disclosure is dealt with appropriately, both for the wellbeing of the child or young person, and also to ensure your actions do not jeopardise any legal action against the abuser.

There are a number of basic guidelines that should be followed to ensure the safe handling of any disclosures of abuse from a child or young person:

  • Don’t panic
  • Remember the safety and well-being of the child or young person comes before the interests of any other person
  • Listen