Call 911 if you or the person you are reporting is in immediate danger.
Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-387-5437 (KIDS) to get help if you, or children you know, are being neglected, abused or sexually exploited. If you believe a child is at risk, you must report it. Help is available in multiple languages 24/7.
Child abuse, neglect and exploitation have many different warning signs. Learn to recognize them.
Protect a child
We all have a role to play in keeping children and youth safe and supported. While parents are primarily responsible for their children’s well-being, the Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act requires you to report a concern if you believe a child is at risk.
Know how to recognize child sexual exploitation, abuse and neglect.
Report your concerns if you think a child or youth is at risk.
When a child or youth tells
What you say and do will help the child or youth feel safe and supported. If they tell you they are being neglected, abused or sexually exploited, make sure you:
- stay calm and react without shock, disbelief, anger, judgement or fear
- let the child or youth tell you what happened in their own words without interruption
- listen carefully without asking questions
- reassure them that it is right to tell and it is not their fault
- acknowledge how they are feeling (scared, angry, embarrassed, hurt, sad)
- help them feel comforted and supported by saying things like:
- I believe you and I will support you
- it is okay to feel scared, angry and hurt
- I will try to help you figure what happens next
- you are brave for talking about this and it is right to tell someone
Soon after the child or youth tells you what is happening, find a private place. Write down what you heard and saw. Be sure to:
- use the same words the child used
- describe the way the child looked, how they behaved and other things you noticed
- keep your notes private and secure
Report a concern
Call the Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-387-5437 to report a concern to a Child Intervention caseworker. We are available in multiple languages, 24 hours a day.
You can report anonymously or give your name and telephone number. If you provide this information, we never reveal your identity to others.
During the call, you will be asked questions about the child or youth and their life. It is okay to call us even if you do not have all this information. Some questions you may be asked include:
Information about yourself
- how you know the child and their family
- how long you have known them
- what you saw, heard or believe may be happening, or what someone else told you
- whether the child or family knows you are calling
- anyone else you know who could provide information about the child or family
- if you are willing to assist the child and family going forward
Information about the child or youth
- their name, age, gender, address and phone number
- any concerns for the child’s immediate safety
- whether the child or youth is with you or somewhere else right now
- what other support people the child has in their life
- whether they go to child care or school, and the name and location if they do
- the child’s cultural identity (for example, Indigenous, African, European, etc.)
- any medical conditions, behavioural or development concerns that you are aware of
- what the child may have told you about the abuse, including when and where they said it happened and how long it has been going on
Information about the parents or guardians
- the parents’ or guardians’ names, approximate ages and address
- where they live, work or go to school
- any information about their family relationships and supports
- any information about their cultural connections or supports
- any strengths that they may have
- whether there are any professionals or agencies supporting the family
- their ability to understand English or any other communication issues
- whether they know about the concern or are involved in it
- anything about the situation or the parents or guardians that would cause a threat for an investigator
Information about the sexual exploiter
- the sexual exploiter’s name, approximate age and address
- what they look like
- the vehicle they drive and the license plate number
- where they live, work or go to school
- anything about the situation that would cause a threat for the child, youth or an investigator
After you call
After you contact us, we may connect with you to clarify something you said or ask follow-up questions. Your identity will not be shared with anyone.