Common QuestionsWhat can I do if I suspect a child may be being abused?
Child abuse can take different forms. It may be physical, sexual, emotional, or the result of neglect. If you believe that a child (a person under 19) needs protection, you have a legal duty to report the matter to the Ministry of Children and Family Development by contacting your local child welfare worker. You do not have to give your name. When a report is made to a child protection social worker, the worker will determine the most appropriate response. A response may include, among other things, making a report to the police or conducting a child protection investigation jointly with a police investigation.
Good starting points include:
- Reporting Child Abuse, from the provincial government, provides a quick overview of when and how to make a report and what you need to include.
- Reporting Suspected Child Abuse, from the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch, outlines what is considered child abuse, and what happens when someone makes a report.
- Responding to Child Welfare Concerns: Your Role in Knowing When and What to Report, from the provincial government, describes in more detail what to do if you think a child may be at risk of abuse or neglect, what the reporting process involves, and what happens next.
- If Your Child is a Victim of Crime, from the BC Ministry of Public Safety & Solicitor General, provides information for parents and other family members whose child has been a victim of crime, including how to report suspected abuse.
See our related common questions:
- See all common questions about abuse & family violence
- See all common questions about children & teens
- See all common questions about family law
- See all common questions about victims of crime
- child abuse, reporting a crime, exploitation of children, child neglect, child protection, removal of a child from the home
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