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Guidance on the Management of Disclosures of Non-Recent (Historic) Child Sexual Abuse (2016)

25 November 2016

Practitioner psychologists have a duty of care to their clients, and in the safeguarding of others. However this may place them in complex positions when trying to negotiate and balance their duties and responsibilities. The guidance and advice presented in this document aims to address some of these dilemmas.

The primary purpose of the attached document is to outline the options which psychologists have in responding to disclosures of non-recent sexual abuse, their responsibilities and accountability, and the various avenues of support available for both psychologists and their clients.

A major part of this involves laying out the potential issues, and potential responses, which may be involved when an allegation of non-recent abuse is made, including (but not limited to):

  • how the disclosure may affect the therapeutic relationship
  • what circumstances may require a psychologist to breach confidentiality
  • how to proceed if the client wishes to formally report a crime

The document also delves into the wider role of psychologists in situations involving historic abuse, including ways in which they can help raise awareness, improve supervision, and work more effectively with the police and the judiciary.

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