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
CIS-2008 Major Findings Supplementary Tables: Caregiver Age by Primary Substantiated Maltreatment and Risk

Allan, Kate
Lefebvre, Rachael
Trocmé, Nico
Fallon, Barbara

2012 Information sheet
Treatment of Child Neglect: A Systematic Review

Allin, Heather
Wathen, C. Nadine
MacMillan, Harriet

2005 Journal article
Options for Action. An Implementation Report for The Legacy of Phoenix Sinclair: Achieving the Best for All Our Children

AMR Planning & Consulting

2015 Report
Ethno-racial Categories and Child Welfare Decisions: Exploring the Relationship with Poverty

Antwi-Boasiako, Kofi
King, Bryn
Black, Tara
Fallon, Barbara
Trocmé, Nico
Goodman, Deborah

2016 Information sheet
Police charging decisions in child maltreatment investigations: Findings from the 2008 Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect

Baiden, Philip
Fallon, Barbara
den Dunnen, Wendy
Black, Tara

2016 Journal article
An Historical Perspective on Family Violence & Child Abuse

Bala, Nicholas

2008 Journal article
Alienated Children and Parental Separation: Legal Responses in Canada's Family Courts

Bala, Nicholas
Fidler, Barbara-Jo
Goldberg, Dan
Houston, Claire

2007 Journal article
Spousal Violence and Child-Related Cases: Challenging Cases Requiring Differentiated Responses

Bala, Nicholas
Jaffe, Peter
Crooks, Claire

2007 Journal article
Sexual Abuse Allegations and Parental Separation: Smokescreen or Fire?

Bala, Nicholas
Mitnick, Mindy
Trocmé, Nico
Houston, Claire

2007 Journal article
A Literature Review and Annotated Bibliography Focusing on Aspects of Aboriginal Child Welfare in Canada

Bennett, Marlyn
Blackstock, Cindy

2002 Other