Disclosures of child sexual abuse: Adult survivors’ recollections of the responses to first disclosures made in childhood, experiences and reactions to hearing a disclosure, and adults’ anticipated responses to suspected or disclosed CSA

  • Nadia Wager (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


Some children are resilient against developing the long-term negative effects associated with experiencing child sexual abuse (CSA). One of the strongest, potentially modifiable protective factors is ‘not receiving an unsupportive’ response to an attempted disclosure. This paper aims to explore both the responses that children face when they attempt to tell adults about their abuse and the issues that prevent potential confidants from acting in a supportive and protective manner. So presented here are the combined findings from three complementary surveys that explored; adult survivors’ of CSA perceptions of the response they received to their childhood disclosures, adults’ expectations regarding their own likelihood act in response to CSA disclosed by a child victim, and individuals’ experiences and reactions to receiving a disclosure of CSA made by a child. At present, much of the preventative work in this area has focused on encouraging children to make timelier disclosures. These findings are of tremendous significance in the area of public policy and child protection practice since they strongly suggest that such encouragement could be counter-productive unless those who are most likely to be chosen as confidants are informed as to how best to respond to such disclosures before they become confidants. The key people in protecting children are not so much child protection professionals, but are in fact the parents, friends and teachers to whom children make their first disclosures. Consequently, more effort needs to be placed on awareness raising among these people. The awareness raising needs also to move beyond teaching about creating safe spaces and recognising the signs of abuse and needs to tackle issues such as other children are often the recipients and adults may feel compelled to deny or dismiss a disclosure so that they are not seen to act foolishly or too rashly.
Period17 Dec 2019
Held atJust Futures Centre
Degree of RecognitionLocal