Communicating with children guide

To give professionals the knowledge and confidence to speak to children about sexual abuse.

How can this resource help you?

Research and practice show that it can take years for a child to get to the point where they feel able to tell someone.

Half a million children are estimated to experience some form of sexual abuse each year, yet research indicates only around one in eight cases of child sexual abuse ever reach statutory services’ attention. Sadly, often the younger the child is when the abuse starts, the longer it can take for it to be uncovered. We cannot forget that there are many barriers to children telling adults about harm and they may not recognise what is happening to them is abuse.

It is vital that anyone who works with children knows how to recognise what is happening and understands how to help the child to have that conversation. This guide is for all people working with children, to give them guidance in talking about child sexual abuse, explaining what may be going on for children when they are being sexually abused; what prevents them from talking about their abuse; and what professionals can do to help children speak about what is happening. It brings together research, practice guidance, and expert input – including from survivors of abuse – to help give professionals the knowledge and confidence to act.


Find out more:

Children will speak to the adults that they know and trust the most, not necessarily those in specific safeguarding roles, and it’s therefore vital that all professionals are able to have that initial conversation. Watch the video to hear from our Deputy Director, Anna Glinski on how this new guidance can help support you in building your confidence in speaking to children, but that all professionals working with children do have the skills.

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