Helping adults respond to children disclosing abuse

Last updated: 09 Jan 2020 Topics: Safeguarding children Type: News article

The NSPCC has created new resources to help adults respond to a child who raises a concern.

NSPCC’s Let children know you’re listening project aims to address children's negative experiences of disclosing abuse and neglect. The new resources will help adults who work with children to respond supportively in the moment a child chooses to disclose, and help them to interact and communicate in a way that helps children feel listened to.

Through consultation with adults across a variety of disciplines, including those from sport organisations, 3 verbal and nonverbal skills were identified that can help make it clear an adult is listening and taking a child seriously when they disclose abuse or neglect. These skills were translated into 3 top 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.


Further information

The NSPCC has also developed a bilingual poster and animation to help organisations spread the word. Organisations are encouraged to share these resources with their staff and volunteers as well as using them in any safeguarding and child protection courses.

To download the free safeguarding resources, visit