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Childhood sexual abuse: disclosure and mandatory reporting – ethical and clinical implications

  • William Burbridge-James

The widespread nature of child sexual abuse is increasingly recognised and in the public domain following high-profile cases. Children and vulnerable people need protecting from such abuse. At the heart of the dilemma facing clinicians is the need to feel supported by the legislative framework to maintain confidentiality and use their clinical discretion in the best interests of their patients, ensuring that they receive the help they need, but also protecting others at risk. There are compelling arguments both for and against strengthening legislation to improve child protection.


  • To understand the context for the potential introduction of mandatory reporting.
  • To understand the arguments for and against mandatory reporting of childhood, including historic, sexual abuse.
  • To reflect on the implications of mandatory reporting of childhood, including historic, sexual abuse for readers clinical practice.



Corresponding author
Correspondence Dr William Burbridge-James, The Taylor Centre, Warrior House, 42–82 Southchurch Road, Southend-on-Sea SS1 2LZ, UK. Email:
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BJPsych Advances
  • ISSN: 2056-4678
  • EISSN: 2056-4686
  • URL: /core/journals/bjpsych-advances
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Childhood sexual abuse: disclosure and mandatory reporting – ethical and clinical implications

  • William Burbridge-James
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