Anonymous Question Boxes and Disclosures (Safeguarding/ Child protection)

How many teachers using anonymous question boxes have ever had a disclosure that you felt needed referral to a safeguarding lead practitioner?

The confidentiality of that box is really important as it offers young people a safe way to ask questions they are too embarrassed to ask publicly. You never try and identify the student (although sometimes you may be able to guess!) and you don’t let the students make fun of the question or try and identify the asker as that would go against your ground rules.

The only time it may need to be breached is if there was a serious disclosure, and even then only if you could somehow very discreetly identify the student which you would need to be incredibly careful- I would suggest saying “I haven’t been able to answer all the questions today but if your question hasn’t been answered please do find me at breaktime to talk further” (This also works if you feel a question is not age- appropriate to answer in a whole class setting, they may not come back due to the lack of anonymity issue but at least you offered a space to still answer their questions)

In all my years of teaching sex education I have never had a disclosure via the anonymous question box so I would assume they were rarely used as a disclosure route but maybe I am wrong in that which is why I wanted to ask other practitioners. I have had some questions which have occasionally made me ponder but in these cases without sharing identity of student I have been able to discuss with my expert colleagues in child protection to be reassured that my gut feeling was right- not a child protection issue but was right to share to cover my back professionally and to increase knowledge about some of the issues facing the young people in my setting.

Have you ever had a disclosure via an anonymous question box? What did you do*



*N.B in the interests of keeping this dialogue safe- please ensure your reply has no identifying information in it and be careful what details you choose to share.



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