Responding & Reporting
Safeguarding 1 Refresher title with Sport Ireland and Sport NI logos
Why Children May Not Disclose header image header image
Sport Ireland

Why Children May Not Disclose Abuse

Many members of the public find it difficult to understand why a child does not speak out when they are being abused in an attempt to stop the abuse there and then, but unfortunately it is not that simple as this for most young people for a variety of different and complex reasons. We are encouraging sports clubs/organisations to highlight helplines and services for young people and children

Some of the main reasons why children don't tell when they are being abused are:

  • Many adults just don't want to hear or believe that abuse could be occurring in their club/organisation or to a young person they know;
  • Most children are abused by adults who they know and trust and this will make it difficult to find someone else to trust and who will listen to them. This can cause the child very mixed emotions about the safety of their whole environment;
  • Some children have been manipulated by their abuser into believing that they caused the abuse by something they said or by the way that they acted;
  • Some children are made to believe (by their abuser) that they had a choice about the abuse and could have stopped it, therefore compounding the feelings of guilt the child may have;
  • The child may fear of the consequences either through direct physical threats like beatings or the withdrawal of food or through emotional threats such as:
  • "no one will believe you"
  • "your friends will know all your secrets"
  • "you will be taken away from your family and put into care"
  • "you will break up the family"
Phone icon

Childline ROI | 1800 666 666

Phone icon

Childline NI | 0800 1111

Link icon

ChildLine NI Website