Helping adults respond to children disclosing abuse
We’ve created evidence-informed resources to help adults ensure children always feel listened to.
Watch our animation on responding to a child's disclosure of abuse
Follow our tips
Show you care, help them open up
Give your full attention to the child or young person and keep your body language open and encouraging. Be compassionate, be understanding and reassure them their feelings are important. Phrases such as ‘you’ve shown such courage today’ help.
Take your time, slow down
Respect pauses and don’t interrupt the child – let them go at their own pace. Recognise and respond to their body language. And remember that it may take several conversations for them to share what’s happened to them.
Show you understand, reflect back
Make it clear you’re interested in what the child is telling you. Reflect back what they’ve said to check your understanding – and use their language to show it’s their experience.
Download and display our poster
We’ve created a poster to help professionals remember these skills and embed them in their practice. It’s free to download so you can display copies around your school or organisation in places where you know adults will see them.
Use the key points from the poster as part of your discussions with children and young people about the importance of speaking out about anything that’s worrying them. Make sure they know you will respond to them supportively if they ever need to talk and remind them they can contact Childline at any time if they need confidential support, by calling 0800 1111 or going to the Childline website.