A child could come forward themselves, or they may come forward with concerns about another child.
An adult at risk could come forward themselves.
Someone acting on behalf of a child or adult at risk may come forward to report that they have concerns, or that concerns have been raised with them. This may include people with parental/caring responsibilities, employees/workers/students, or a member of the public.
A child or adult at risk’s behaviours may indicate harm/abuse/breach of policies and/or procedures.
An employee/worker/student may have concerns about the behaviour of children/colleagues/others that makes them feel uncomfortable.
If a child makes a disclosure, it may not be made in a straightforward way. They may:
Behave in a way that suggests something is wrong e.g. sexualised behaviour - they may not know they are doing this.
Write letters or draw pictures.
Post content on social media.
Be clingy with a person they trust.
Create a drama.
Be inappropriate with other children.
Suggest the abuse is happening to a third party or an imaginary friend.
Children and adults at risk may find it difficult to make a disclosure for a number of reasons:
An adult didn’t notice or action previous attempts at disclosure.
They are afraid.
They have been threatened.
The do not recognise they are being abused.
They do not think they will be believed or taken seriously.
They are protecting the abuser and/or their family.