Safeguarding: The 12 barriers preventing child sexual abuse disclosures

Twelve barriers that prevent young people from disclosing sexual abuse and four factors that help them have been identified by researchers.
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An NSPCC-commissioned study (Allnock & Kiff, 2023) set out to review the evidence on barriers to disclosures for children and young people, the “motivators and facilitators” that help them to disclose, and their experiences following disclosure.

Researchers from the University of Bedfordshire studied 43 papers and reviews and have compiled a list of 12 barriers and four motivators and facilitators.

The research was commissioned after the final report of the Independent Inquiry for Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA, 2022) recommended the introduction of a mandatory reporting duty in England and Wales for disclosures of child sexual abuse.


Twelve barriers

The 12 barriers to disclosure are broken down into categories including developmental or emotional and mental health factors, barriers relating to other people, and barriers relating to societal norms. The 12 barriers are:

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