Child Abuse & Neglect

Child abuse and neglect include acts of commission or omission by a parent or other caregiver that result in harm, potential for harm, or threat of harm to a child.  The five primary forms of maltreatment are physical abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, emotional maltreatment and exposure to domestic violence.

For a document that outlines definitions of frequently used terms in child abuse and neglect research, see the page with the glossary of social work and child maltreatment related terms.

You can get more information on the signs of child maltreatment from the Family Violence Initiative, operated by the Department of Justice of Canada. You can also contact Kid’s Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868 for further information.

If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected, or are looking for information about services for children or families experiencing difficulties you can contact your local child welfare authority. Click here to find the local child authority agency in your province or territory. Please visit our FAQs section to learn more about child abuse and neglect.

Title Authorssort icon Year Type of Publication
Protection of Children from Physical Maltreatment in Canada: Evaluation of the Supreme Court’s Definition of Reasonable Force

Durrant, Joan E.
Trocmé, Nico
Fallon, Barbara
Milne, Cheryl
Black, Tara

2009 Journal article
Physical punishment of children

Durrant, Joan
Ensom, Ron

2004 Information sheet
Punitive violence against children in Canada

Durrant, Joan
Trocmé, Nico
Fallon, Barbara
Milne, Cheryl
Black, Tara
Knoke, Della

2006 Information sheet
Physical punishment of children: Assessing the validity of the legal definition of “reasonable force”

Durrant, Joan
Trocmé, Nico
Fallon, Barbara
Milne, Cheryl
Black, Tara
Petrowski, Nicole

2009 Information sheet
Restoring Family Support, Self-Esteem, and Reducing Distress Among Sexually Abused Young Runaways

Edinburgh, Laurel
Homma, Yuko
Saewyc, Elizabeth
Wirkkala, Sara
Mickschl, Leah

2009 Journal article
The relationship between dimensions of physical abuse and aggressive behavior in a child protective services involved sample of adolescents

Ellenbogen, Stephen
Trocmé, Nico
Wekerle, Christine

2013 Journal article
Understanding the Association Between Maltreatment History and Adolescent Risk Behavior by Examining Popularity Motivations and Peer Group Control

Ellis, Wendy E.
Wolfe, David

2009 Journal article
The stability of child protection placements in Quebec, Canada

Esposito, Tonino
Trocmé, Nico
Chabot, Martin
Collin-Vézina, Delphine
Shlonsky, Aron
Sinha, Vandna

2014 Journal article
Placement of children in out-of-home care in Québec, Canada: When and for whom initial out-of-home placement is most likely to occur

Esposito, Tonino
Trocmé, Nico
Chabot, Martin
Shlonsky, Aron
Collin-Vézina, Delphine 
Sinha, Vandna

2013 Journal article
Risk Factors Associated With the Chronicity of High Potential for Child Abuse and Neglect

Ethier, Louise S.
Couture, Germain
Lacharité, Carl

2004 Report