Responding to disclosures


Validate what’s happening to the person:

  • “You are not alone”
  • “You are not to blame for what is happening”
  • “You do not deserve to be treated in this way”
  • "There is help available“
  • “There is life after abuse”


Check current safety:

  • “Is your partner here with you?”
  • “Where are the children?”
  • “Do you have any immediate concerns?”
  • “Do you have a safe place to go to?”

Consider if there is an immediate risk and if the perpetrator(s) is present.

Remember to protect your personal safety.


Is there a child or vulnerable adult at risk?

  • Vulnerable adult - a person with care and support needs
  • Harm to children includes “impairment suffered from seeing or hearing the ill-treatment of another”
  • 30-60% of children who witness domestic abuse are also physically harmed


  • Follow your organisation’s policies and safeguarding procedures, if appropriate
  • Provide information about support services
  • Offer to make a direct referral
  • Provide safety planning advice
  • Ask the client what they want


Consider safety and confidentiality when recording information and follow your organisation’s data protection policies. Extreme care needs to be taken with documenting domestic abuse. In order to maintain confidentiality, any record of domestic abuse should be kept separately from notes which the perpetrator may have access to i.e. records he may access as a parent.