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Recognising and Responding to Children's Disclosures of Sexual Abuse

Date: Wednesday, 8 May 2024

Time: 10am-12pm (London, UK) with a ten-minute break

Price: Free

Speakers: Rhiannon-Faye McDonald, Expert by experience and Head of Advocacy at Marie Collins Foundation (MCF)Anna GlinskiDeputy Director (Knowledge and Practice Development), Centre of expertise on child sexual abuse and Fellow of NOTA (National Organisation for the Treatment of Abuse)Victoria Green, Chief Executive for the Marie Collins Foundation (MCF)Lawrence Jordan, Director of Services, Marie Collins Foundation (MCF) 

The government is now making good on its promise to implement some of the recommendations that were made in the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) report published in 2022. These will have wide-ranging implications for professionals working with children and will extend the legal requirement to report instances of child sexual abuse to a wider range of people working with children. The workforce is already facing significant challenges and barriers in this area, and this added complexity has surfaced anxieties around how well-equipped professionals are when recognising and responding to disclosures of sexual abuse. There is a lot at stake personally and professionally.

Verbal disclosures of child sexual abuse from children and young people are rare and not always obvious. This webinar will expand our understanding of what a disclosure might sound, look and/or feel like. It will enable us to be better equipped to recognise a potential disclosure, to determine whether they are telling us something of concern, and, importantly, build our confidence so we can respond in a way that prioritises the safety and wellbeing of the child. It is understandable that there are fears and anxieties around the potential for disclosure. We need to consider how well equipped we are to recognise and respond to a child if they disclose. It is incumbent on all of us all to be prepared to identify, respond and support.

This webinar will also challenge us to see disclosure as part of a journey and will help us to understand that we can all play an important role in centring the needs of the child or young person.

By being willing to confront our own feelings through engaging with the thinking in this webinar, we can develop greater confidence that we would recognise a disclosure from a child or young person and that we would know how to respond. If you are working with children and/or young people and you want to develop confidence in your ability to recognise and positively respond to possible disclosures of child sexual abuse, this webinar is for you.


Learning outcomes:

  • Develop a deeper understanding of the vital role of professional curiosity
  • Expand your understanding of what a disclosure of child sexual abuse could sound, look or feel like
  • Develop awareness of potential early signs of sexual abuse
  • Understand the importance of staying present with the child or young person making a disclosure – how can you juggle the pressures of your own responses, risk, safeguarding and reporting in the moment?
  • Acknowledge your anxieties, fears, biases and assumptions around child sexual abuse and recognise how they can influence your response
  • Understand the importance of thinking about how disclosure is part of a journey as opposed to a 'moment'
  • Understand what is at stake when responding to an initial disclosure of child sexual abuse
  • Consider the importance of carefully choosing language when you formally record your understanding of what a child has communicated to you, both to counter potential legal pitfalls but also to preserve the child's truth and their right to be heard and believed
  • Build confidence in your ability to respond to disclosures of child sexual abuse to keep the child safe and protect them from further harm


Who should attend?

  • Social workers working with children, (newly qualified to very experienced)
  • Principal social workers
  • Professionals working in primary and secondary education
  • Healthcare professionals
  • Mental health professionals
  • Police
  • Youth Offending Team professionals
  • Adult leaders of girlguiding units and boy scout troops
  • Foster carers
  • Residential children’s home staff
  • Personal advisors
  • Youth workers
  • Church/faith leaders
  • Team sports and athletics coaches
  • Professionals working in relevant charity and voluntary sector organisations


Meet the speakers


Rhiannon-Faye McDonald

Expert by experience and Head of Advocacy at Marie Collins Foundation (MCF)

Rhiannon has lived experience of technology-assisted child sexual abuse which resulted in her being the victim of both online, offline, and image-based sexual abuse when she was 13 years old.

Rhiannon shares her experience publicly to increase awareness and understanding of the impacts of technology-assisted child sexual abuse and promote the need for better support for victims and their families to help their recovery journey. She leads on the development, expansion, and co-ordination of the MCF Lived Experience Group, and strives to ensure that the voice of lived experience is elevated, listened to, and truly influences the work to address and respond to child sexual abuse.

Anna Glinski

Deputy Director, Knowledge & Practice Development, CSA Centre

Anna heads up the Practice Improvement Team at the CSA Centre, leading our work creating practice resources, devising training courses and advising individuals and organisations to improve their response to child sexual abuse.

Anna is a qualified social worker and prior to joining the CSA Centre worked within statutory front line child protection and specialist services as a practitioner and manager. She was the practice development lead for child sexual abuse within a local authority and contributed to local and regional service and policy development.  She developed and led a multi-disciplinary specialist sexual abuse team, which provided assessments, interventions, supervision, consultation and training. 

Anna has specialised in child sexual abuse work for the majority of her career, acting in her previous role as an expert witness in the family courts on child sexual abuse cases.

In her current role Anna offers expert input on a number of national strategic projects relating to child sexual abuse.  Anna is an Associate Tutor at the University of Sussex and is currently the Editor of NOTA News, the quarterly magazine for members of the National Organisation for the Treatment of Abuse.

Victoria Green

Chief Executive for the Marie Collins Foundation (MCF)

Victoria Green is a seasoned professional in the field of child protection with over 30 years of experience as a registered social worker.  She has held a wide range of roles at both operational and strategic level and has been a frontline worker, manager, principal social worker and Safeguarding Children Board development and strategic manager.

Victoria is passionate about advocating for children's rights and protecting those harmed by technology-assisted child sexual abuse (TACSA), a mission that is at the core of everything MCF does. Joining MCF in 2015, she directed the development of Click: Path to Protection, a unique training program for frontline workers addressing technology-assisted child sexual abuse (TACSA).

Appointed CEO in July 2021, Victoria has continued to amplify the voices of those with lived experience influence policy at a governmental level to ensure appropriate responses for TACSA. Despite her leadership role, Victoria remains hands-on, directly supporting children and families, mentoring professionals, and contributing to research projects. She is dedicated to overcoming technological barriers and ensuring MCF's response minimizes harm, emphasizing the unique selling point of protecting victims without causing further distress.

Lawrence Jordan

Director of Services, Marie Collins Foundation (MCF)

Lawrence Jordan is the Director of services at Marie Collins Foundation (MCF), and prior to starting with the foundation in 2021 worked within the Children Social Care arena since 2003. Lawrence is a qualified social worker and has experience within a Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), Family support team, and in an emergency duty team.

Lawrence developed a local response to Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) including overseeing a team of specialist CSE support workers. In 2016 Lawrence was made the CSE Coordinator to address the wider aspects of sexual abuse and exploitation and to develop a stronger multi-agency response. Further development in this area meant that Lawrence became the local authorities, Professional Lead for Children Missing, Exploited and Trafficked and was tasked with creating a multi-agency hub to respond to all forms of child exploitation which incorporated the child missing service within it.

Lawrence has received 2 awards, firstly relating to his work with children and families, and secondly a police commendation for his exceptional work with children who are exploited, go missing or have been trafficked.