Protecting children from abuse and neglect is the responsibility of the whole community.
You have a duty to report.
Everyone, not just professionals, who has reasonable grounds to suspect a child is or may be in need of protection, has a duty to report directly to a children's aid society. Referrals may be made 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Contact us at 519-631-1492 or 1-800-260-6960.
The Child and Family Services Act (CFSA) clearly states in section 72 (1) the situations that must be reported. These include instances where the following has occurred or is at risk of occurring:
- physical harm resulting from neglect, abuse or lack of care;
- sexual abuse, molestation or exploitation;
- medical treatment to cure, prevent or alleviate physical harm is withheld by a parent or guardian;
- a child is suffering from anxiety, depression, withdrawal, self destructive, aggressive behavior or any other emotional harm due to the neglect, actions or failure to act of the child's parent or guardian;
- abandonment; and
- a child is less than 12 years old and has killed or seriously injured another person or another person's property because the child's parent or guardian has failed to supervise the child adequately, or if the parent has refused services or treatment to prevent the child from re-committing a similar action.
You have an ongoing duty to report
A person must report further suspicions, even if they have made a previous report about the same child and family.
Professionals are held to a higher standard.
Any professional or official who obtains information while on duty, which causes them to suspect a child is in need of protection, must report directly to a CAS, even if the information would normally be confidential or privileged.
Professionals who fail to report suspicions of child abuse or neglect may be fined up to $1,000.
The following is a partial list of people who are considered to be professionals under the CFSA:
- Health care professionals, including physicians, nurses, dentists, pharmacists, and psychologists;
- Teachers, and school principals;
- Social workers and family counsellors;
- Priests, rabbis and other members of the clergy;
- Operators or employees of day nurseries;
- Youth and recreation workers (not volunteers);
- Peace officers and coroners;
- Service providers and employees of service providers; and
- Any other person who performs professional or official duties with respect to children.
You are protected.
In extreme cases where a civil action is brought against a person who made a report, that person will be protected from liability unless he/she acted maliciously or without reasonable grounds.
We are committed to prevent child abuse and neglect and family breakdown by intervening as early and as decisively as circumstances permit.