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Appendix D - Dealing with Disclosure of Abuse

When a child tells me about abuse s/he has suffered, what must I Remember?

  • Stay calm.

  • Do not communicate shock, anger or embarrassment.

  • Reassure the child. Tell her/him you are pleased that s/he is speaking to you.

  • Never promise confidentiality. Assure her/him that you will try to help but let the child know that you may have to tell other people in order to do this. State who this will be and why.

  • Encourage the child to talk but do not ask "leading questions" or press for information.

  • Listen and remember.

  • Check that you have understood correctly what the child is trying to tell you.

  • Praise the child for telling you. Communicate that s/he has a right to be safe and protected.

  • It is inappropriate to make any comments about the alleged offender.

  • Be aware that the child may retract what s/he has told you. It is essential to record all you have heard.

  • At the end of the conversation, tell the child again who you are going to tell and why that person or those people need to know.

  • As soon as you can afterwards, make a detailed record of the conversation using the child’s own language. Include any questions you may have asked. Do not add any opinions or interpretations. Add your name, date and signature to this record. Alter this to reflect your CP recording system, ensure any handwritten notes are given to the DSL for filing

  • Pass this record on as soon as possible, immediately if significant risk is identified, to the DSL


It is not Pre-School staff’s role to seek disclosures or investigate. Their role is to observe that something may be wrong, ask about it, listen, be available and ensure the child is supported through any disclosure process.

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