Clinical pathway for children and young people who have disclosed sexual abuse: consultation

This pathway is relevant for children under 16 years of age (or up to 18 years of age for young people with vulnerabilities and additional support needs).

3. Aims of the Clinical Pathway

This pathway outlines the health service response to disclosures of sexual abuse and the steps taken in partnership with other agencies to make sure that services for the child or young person and those who care for them are able to promote health, wellbeing and recovery.

Health services caring for children and young people who have disclosed sexual abuse should:

  • Work in partnership across agencies with a shared commitment to the best interests of the child. This includes listening to and believing the child.
  • Be focused on the reduction of further harm and promotion of the recovery of the child and family, whether or not there is an ongoing criminal justice process.
  • Provide appropriate and timely access to health care, emotional, mental health and social support.
  • Balance confidentiality with the need to share information to safeguard the child or young person, or other children and young people at risk of harm
  • Offer a holistic and trauma-informed approach to therapeutic support (further information about the principles of trauma informed care is available in 4.3.1).
  • Ensure that the examination meets the forensic standards required to support any future criminal justice process including the requirement that facilities used for forensic medical examination are appropriately maintained and comply with agreed forensic decontamination processes and procedures.



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