Child Abuse or Neglect
area code needed)
children help is just a phone call away. They can reach the Helpline for
Children by dialing 310-1234 (no area code needed). It doesn't cost
anything to call, and a child protection social worker is always there
to listen and help, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more
information see the reporting summary inside the front cover of this
ways, this is the simplest yet the most urgent aspect of responding to
child abuse or neglect. If you have reason to believe a child has been or
is likely to be abused, neglected, or in need of protection, you must
report the matter immediately to a child protection social worker. The law
is set out in legislation called the Child, Family and Community
to a child protection social worker in either a Ministry for Children and
Families office, or a First Nations child welfare agency that provides
child protection services.
Hours Lines (Monday to Friday 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m., and
all day Saturday, Sunday and statutory holidays). For Vancouver,
North Shore, Richmond call 660-4927. For Lower Mainland (Burnaby and
Delta in the west to Maple Ridge and Langley in the east) call
a child is in immediate danger, police should be called. Dial 911, or call
the operator and ask for police assistance.
Duty to Report
who has a reason to believe that a child has been or is likely to be
physically harmed, sexually abused or sexually exploited, or needs
protection due to the specific circumstances outlined in the Child,
Family and Community Service Act, is legally responsible under that
act to report the matter to a child protection social worker. In British
Columbia, a child is anyone under the age of 19.
duty to report applies to everyone, including service providers, family
members and the general public in short, anyone who is aware of
circumstances that should be reported.
matter if you believe someone else is reporting the situation, you
still have to report.
matter if you're aware that a child protection social worker is
already involved with the child, you still have to report the
matter. All new incidents must be reported as well.
The legal duty
to report overrides any duty of confidentiality, except a
Time is of the
essence in ensuring the safety and well-being of children. Report
If you have
reason to believe that a child has been or is likely to be abused or
neglected, then the responsibility for making a report to a child
protection social worker legally rests with you.
Do not contact
the alleged perpetrator. This is the responsibility of the police,
or the child protection social worker.
an employer needs to contact the alleged perpetrator in order to
protect children under their authority, this should be coordinated
with the police and child protection social worker.
agencies and ministries have developed internal reporting procedures
requiring that reports be made to supervisory personnel as well as to a
child protection social worker. All internal reporting procedures must
conform with the legal duty to report to a child protection social worker.
to Report that a Child Needs Protection
Family and Community Service Act sets out the circumstances under
which you must report - that is, when you have reason to believe that a
child "has been, or is likely to be, physically harmed, sexually
abused or sexually exploited by a parent or by another person or if the
child has been or is likely to be physically harmed because of neglect by
the child's parent," or if:
the child is
emotionally harmed by the parent's conduct;
the child is
deprived of necessary health care;
development is likely to be seriously impaired by a treatable
condition and the child's parent refuses to provide or consent to
parent is unable or unwilling to care for the child and has not made
adequate provision for the child's care;
the child is or
has been absent from home in circumstances that endanger the child's
safety or well-being;
parent is dead and adequate provision has not been made for the
child's care; and
child has been abandoned and adequate provision has not been made for
the child's care.
child abuse and neglect concerns must be reported to a Ministry for
Children and Families child protection social worker or a First Nations
child welfare agency that provides child protection services. This applies
even if a report has been made to the police.
are three ways to reach a Ministry for Children and Families child
protection social worker:
Children and Families local district office,
Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (listed in the blue
pages of your phone book).
Lines (Monday to Friday 4:30 p.m. to 8:30a.m., and all day Saturday,
Sunday, and statutory holidays) for Vancouver, North Shore,
604-660-4927 Lower Mainland (Burnaby and Delta in the west to Maple
Ridge and Langley in the east): 604-660-8180
Anywhere else in B.C.: 1-800-663-9122
Children dial 310-1234 (no area code needed). This toll-free
service operates 24 hours a day.
most circumstances, the identity of the person who makes a report will not
be revealed without consent unless the child protection social worker is
required to give their name for the purposes of a court hearing.
report should include the reporter's name, telephone number and
relationship to the child. It should also provide as much of the following
information as possible:
the name and
location of the child;
concerns about the child's safety;
as to why you believe the child is at risk;
or disclosures made by the child;
the age and
vulnerability of the child;
the family, parents and alleged offenders;
siblings or other children who may be at risk;
any previous incidents or concerns regarding the child;
about other persons or agencies closely involved with the child
about other persons who may be witnesses or may have information
about the child;
the nature of the child's disabilities, if any, his or her mode of
communication, and the name of a key support person;
relevant information concerning the child and/or family, such as
language or culture.
delay making a report just because you don't have all this information.
Contact the child protection social worker immediately with the
information you do have.
don't have to report when it is clear that an injury or other harm is
accidental and is a result of circumstances outside the control of the
parent or other person responsible for the child in, for example, a
play an important role in protecting children. They can respond quickly to
protect children in immediate danger.
If a child is
in immediate danger, every person aware of it must call the police
right away, then report to a child protection social worker as soon
If a child is
not in immediate danger, report to a child protection social worker.
They will call police if they believe a criminal offence is
occurring or may have occurred.
protection social workers understand the need to involve police
immediately where it is evident that a criminal offence has occurred or is
occurring. This is particularly important in matters such as sexual
assault where it is critical to the investigation that evidence be
obtained immediately. Prompt action can prevent further harm and help
police catch the perpetrator.
are responsible for conducting a criminal investigation which can include
obtaining witness statements, arranging to obtain medical forensic
evidence where appropriate, protecting the crime scene and maintaining the
continuity of evidence.
a superintendent of schools in the case of a public school or a senior
authority in the case of other educational institutions
child abuse or neglect is believed to have occurred in a public school or
in an educational institution, or during school activities sponsored by
the school or institution, the child protection social worker will notify
the school superintendent, in the case of a public school, or the senior
authority, in the case of other educational institutions.
case comes to the attention of an employee of a public school or an
educational institution, the employee must report it to a child protection
social worker and to the superintendent or senior authority.
school board, superintendent of schools or senior authority of an
educational institution has the responsibility of ensuring the safety of
children in educational settings, and has the authority to suspend or
dismiss employees, and suspend or expel students.
child is in immediate danger and requires police assistance, police should
be notified without delay so they can protect the child.
abusive behaviors between children occur at school, school personnel
should immediately notify the principal, who is responsible for student
conduct. The principal also has a duty to report promptly to a child
protection social worker if he/she has reason to believe a child has been
or is likely to be abused or neglected. The report of school personnel to
the principal does not replace his/her duty to report to a child
protection social worker.
a medical health officer
child abuse or neglect is believed to have occurred in a child care
facility that is or should be licensed, the child protection social worker
will notify the medical health officer. Child care facility licensees are
also required to inform the medical health officer.
child care (also known as supported child care);
group day care;
care for children and youth; and
child care, for example at a ski hill or resort.
Reporting Child Abuse