A central recommendation from the Independent Inquiry for Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA, 2022)1 was the introduction of a mandatory reporting duty in England and Wales for disclosures of child sexual abuse.
To help understand the potential implications of this proposal, we commissioned researchers from the University of Bedfordshire to review the evidence on:
The evidence review focuses on 43 papers and reports from international research with children and young people about their experiences or views on disclosing sexual abuse.
The review identifies a number of key insights to inform thinking on the proposed mandatory reporting duty. It also highlights gaps in the current research, including a lack of consideration of the reporting systems in place in the countries in which children disclosed abuse, and limited research into children’s perspectives and experiences of those systems. The report recommends further direct research with children and young people to inform the design of any proposed system.
Authors: Debra Allnock and Joe Kiff
ReferencesHome Office (2022) Report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse [Accessed 23/05/2023].
Children described several barriers to disclosure including developmental factors, isolation and a lack of trusted and open relationships. Services and professionals protecting and supporting children and young people must gain the trust and confidence of children and young people to ensure appropriate, effective, and sensitive responses.
Mandatory reporters must be equipped not only to identify signs and indicators of sexual abuse but also to understand how to promote opportunities and connections to help create safe spaces for children to disclose.
Children and young people describe how their experiences of disclosure are impacted by trauma, anxiety, and fear about the impact of other people learning about their abuse. Ineffective or insensitive responses can impact the likelihood of children and young people seeking help in the future.
Please cite as:
Allnock, D. and Kiff, J. (2023) Listening to children and young people’s experiences of disclosing child sexual abuse: Insights for the proposed mandatory reporting duty in England and Wales. London: NSPCC.
Evidence-informed resources to help you ensure children always feel listened to - watch the animation, follow the tips and display the poster.
A summary of IICSA’s final report into child sexual abuse and exploitation in England and Wales, and government responses to the recommendations made.