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Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect
A Statutory Duty to Report
All professionals who work with children in the Province of Ontario are required by law to report suspected child abuse and/or neglect to their local Children's Aid Society. This requirement is outlined in Section 72(1) of the Child and Family Services Act (1990).
Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect*
Ontario’s Children’s Aid Societies received over 75,000 referrals from teachers and educators, police officers, health care professionals and members of the public last year about suspected child abuse and neglect. Everyone has an ongoing duty to report actual or suspected child abuse and neglect. Even if you have reported once already, if you see or hear of abuse happening you must report again.
When a call is made to a Children’s Aid Society, a clinically-trained child protection worker discusses the caller’s concerns and asks questions to assess the situation. Your local Children’s Aid Society will investigate the allegation of abuse and determine what action is necessary. Child protection workers, using clear standards and guidelines, investigate allegations of abuse and determine the kind of support and service needed to keep children safe and families healthy in situations involving child abuse and neglect.
Children’s Aid Societies can only act to protect children from harm when a teacher, police officer, health professional or concerned citizen calls to report their suspicions or a parent calls for assistance. Professionals working with children, including teachers and principals, have an ongoing obligation to report suspected abuse or neglect directly to their local Children’s Aid Society.
Your local Children’s Aid Society is available 24-hours a day to talk about your concerns, and the information you give, including your identity, will remain confidential where possible.
What happens when you call?
For more information about your ongoing duty to report, visit the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies website at http://www.oacas.org/childwelfare/duty.htm.
*This information was provided by the Ontario Association of Children's Aid Societies.