2.3 Delayed Reporting: Procedure

This procedure was updated on 06/11/19 and is currently uptodate.



Non-recent abuse (also known as historical abuse) is an allegation of neglect, physical, sexual or emotional abuse made by, or on behalf of, someone who is now 18 years or over, relating to an incident which took place when the alleged victim was under 18 years old. NSPCC 2018

If a person under 18 makes a disclosure of non-recent abuse staff should follow the BSCP's Neglect Practice Guidance


Allegations of child abuse are sometimes made by adults and young people a long time after the abuse has occurred. There are many reasons for an allegation not being made at the time, including:

  • fear of reprisals
  • degree of control exercised by the abuser
  • shame
  • fear of not being believed
  • not understand until later that when they had experienced was abuse.

As well as achieving some justice and support for the alleged victim, staff dealing with cases of this nature should bear in mind that even though the offences are termed ‘historical/non-recent’, the alleged perpetrator could currently be in contact with children/young people as a parent, carer or worker/volunteer.


Consequently, responses to allegations of historical/non-recent abuse should reach as high a standard as a response to current abuse. See Neglect Practice Guidance


If historical/non-recent abuse enquiries involve more than one alleged perpetrator, or more than one victim, the BSCP procedures for Complex Abuse must be considered.


If the alleged perpetrator worked, or currently works, with children/young people, the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) must be notified and consulted (see Managing Allegations against Staff and Volunteers procedures).

Required Response


When an allegation of historical/non-recent abuse is made, the person receiving the information should record the discussion in detail. If possible, they should establish if the alleged victim or referrer has any knowledge of the alleged abuser’s recent or current whereabouts and whether they have any contact with children within their personal life or as an employee / volunteer.


Due to the potential continuing risk that the alleged abuser may pose to children, the person receiving the allegation/concern should make a referral to Children’s Social Care, in line with the BSCP's Neglect Practice Guidance.

The professional making the referral should keep the person making the disclosure informed of how information will be shared and kept up to date with progress. In some circumstances where a significant risk to a child is identified confidentiality of the person may need to be overridden.


Where it is alleged that the abuse in childhood took place in a different local authority, the case should be referred to social care and/or the police in the area where the abuse is alleged to have taken place. Parallel enquiries may be needed if the alleged abuser has contact with children elsewhere, but the coordinating local authority Children’s Social Care should be the one responsible for the geographical area where the abuse is alleged to have taken place.


If the abuse is alleged to have happened in a children’s home or residential/boarding school, the responsible Children’s Social Care should be the one liaising with the local authority responsible for running the establishment concerned, irrespective of where the children’s home or residential/boarding school is/was located. It is important that there is effective communication about roles and responsibilities between agencies in such circumstances.


Children’s Social Care should:

  • inform the police at the earliest opportunity and establish if there is any information regarding the alleged abuser’s current contact with children, irrespective of the wishes of the reporting person as to whether a police prosecution should take place
  • inform the Service Director, Children’s Social Care and Learning, if the allegation indicates complex abuse (i.e. more than one victim involved and/or more than one perpetrator)
  • help the person reporting identify appropriate therapeutic support (see Appendix 1). The alleged victim may also be a vulnerable adult and access to, and communication with, specific services for vulnerable adults must be considered.

The responsible police service for investigation will be the one covering the area where the alleged abuse is said to have taken place.

Transferable Concerns for Vulnerable Adults


Consideration should be given to any transferrable risks to vulnerable adults, particularly where the alleged perpetrator has moved to adult services or works within a service that covers both children and vulnerable adults, e.g. hospital, voluntary or faith sector.


In such circumstances, the relevant local authority Adult Social Care should be included in the investigative process, as well as any related assessment and therapeutic planning.


Appendix 1 (Delayed Reporting)

Related Policies, Procedures, and Guidance

This page is correct as printed on Thursday 18th of April 2024 06:28:37 AM please refer back to this website (http://bscb.procedures.org.uk) for updates.