Child Abuse

Child protection services are about protecting children under 16 from abuse and/or neglect while making every effort to keep families together. Under the Children and Family Services Act, designated social workers in child welfare agencies are required to assess reports of alleged child abuse and neglect.

There are different kinds of child abuse:

  1. Physical abuse
    The intentional use of force on any part of a child's body that results in injury.
  2. Emotional abuse
    Anything that causes serious mental or emotional harm to a child, which the parent does not attempt to prevent or address.
  3. Sexual abuse
    The improper exposure of a child to sexual contact, activity or behaviour.
  4. Neglect
    Any lack of care that may cause significant harm to a child's development or endangers the child in any way.

Everyone has the duty to immediately report to a child welfare agency even a suspicion that a child under 16 may be in need of protective services. Reports may be made anonymously. Once a report is made, child protection social workers assess the information provided to determine an appropriate response.

Next steps

If you suspect that a child is being abused or neglected, please contact the child welfare agency in the area where the child lives. It is best if you contact the agency by telephone or in person. To find the child welfare agency in your area, please contact the agency or district office of the Department of Community Services nearest you for more information.

After regular business hours call 1-866-922-2434 if you believe a child is in immediate danger.