Responding to disclosure

Did you know?

When a child discloses that they have been abused, it is never your role to approach the perpetrator about it.

If a child discloses to you, as a child care worker, that he or she has been abused, it can be upsetting and confronting. It is also an opportunity to immediately comfort them and help to protect them. It is never your role to attempt to talk to the perpetrator about it. This could create a more dangerous situation, for both you and the child.

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How to handle disclosure

Read the resource Tips on dealing with disclosure, then try the following activity.

Read each statement then click on the arrow next to it to move it so that the actions are in the correct order and show the steps you should follow in a disclosure situation.

Find a quiet private place to listen

Reassure them that telling you is the right thing to do

Never make promises you can't keep, including saying you won't tell anyone

Tell them you will go to see the person who has done this to them

Show how shocked and upset you are at what the child is telling you

Show that you believe the child

Let them talk at their own pace and in their own words

Tell the child what will happen next

Call a meeting with all the other staff and tell them what happened.

Talk to your supervisor as soon as possible and record what the child told you


Think about the importance of confidentiality in a situation like this. Only the staff who work with the child should be told about the disclosure. Why do you think this is? Write your answer in your notebook.

To make sure you have completed all the activities for this section, you can use the Activity Checklist (Word 73Kb). You can print the checklist to keep in your notebook.