About Abuse and Neglect

Physical abuse is considered when a child is at risk of being harmed or has been physically harmed by a caregiver. It is also considered when a caregiver fails to supervise, protect, care for or provide for a child.

There is often a fine line between spanking a child (physical force) and physical abuse of a child. If the force used is abusive, harmful or degrading it could result in a criminal charges. The Criminal Code of Canada sets limits on what is defined as reasonable and not reasonable.  For example, it is not reasonable to use force on your child with an object like a stick or belt, to cause injury or to hit a child on the face or head, or to use force when you are angry or frustrated. It also states that it is not reasonable to use physical discipline on a teenager, a child younger that 2 years of age or a child with a disability. 

Emotional abuse is considered when a child is at risk of or has suffered emotional harm demonstrated by serious anxiety, depression, withdrawal, self destructive or aggressive behaviour or delayed development and there are reasonable grounds to believe this harm results from the actions, failure to act or pattern of neglect by a caregiver. It is also considered when a child exhibits the above serious behaviours and the caregiver does not provide services to help. Emotional abuse can also include family violence.

Sexual abuse is considered when a child is at risk of or has been sexually molested or sexually exploited by a caregiver.  It is also considered when a child's caregiver knows, or should know, of the possibility of sexual abuse or exploitation by another person and doesn't protect the child.

Neglect is considered when a child is at risk of or has been harmed as a result of the caregiver not adequately supervising, protecting, caring for or providing for a child. Neglect is also considered when a child has a medical, mental, emotional or developmental condition that requires services or treatment and the caregiver does not provide these services or treatment.

You can find further, detailed information about the types and signs of abuse and neglect from the The Association of Children's Aid Societies website www.useyourvoice.ca

If you have reason to believe that a child is in need of protection or is at risk of harm, or you are looking for support for your family, call us at 519-576-0540.  Let's talk together, work together and figure it out together.