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Responding to disclosures

Concerns for the safety and wellbeing of children, young persons or adults at risk could arise in a variety of ways and in a range of different settings which may not necessarily be linked to the University. For example:

It is essential to act quickly and professionally in all cases of suspected abuse.

All members of staff are expected to raise concerns, suspicions or allegations they become aware of with one of the University’s Designated Safeguarding Officers’. The course of action taken then will depend on the specifics of the situation and in accordance with the University’s Safeguarding Policy.

The Safeguarding Policy contains relevant forms to report concerns. In all cases it is vital that accurate records are maintained of allegations, concerns, decisions and reasons for actions.

If a child, young person or adult at risk makes a disclosure of child abuse or radicalisation to you, it is important that you do not start to investigate or ask leading questions, as this could compromise any formal investigation undertaken by the police or social services at a later date.

Details of any allegation should only be shared with the Designated Safeguarding Officer in the first instance. A decision about who needs to know about the allegations will be taken at a later stage of the process.

When receiving a disclosure


  • Stay calm
  • Listen carefully
  • Ask questions for clarification
  • Believe
  • Reassure
  • Inform the subject you will have to pass information on
  • Record in writing
  • Report to Designated Safeguarding Officer as soon as possible


  • Panic
  • Promise to keep secrets
  • Ask leading questions
  • Make the child repeat the story unnecessarily
  • Interview the subject
  • Delay
  • Start to investigate