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 Authors Year Type of Publicationsort icon
Child Neglect: Developmental Issues and Outcomes

Hildyard, Kathryn
Wolfe, David

Working with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Families who have Experienced Family Violence: A Practice Guide for Child Welfare Professionals

Steering Committe
Native Child & Family Services: Charlene Avalos
Chiefs of Ontario: Lillian Baibomcowai-Dell
Ottawa Inuit Children Centre: Karen Baker Anderson
Native Women’s Centre of Hamilton: Linda Ense
Métis Nation of Ontario: Shelley Gonneville
Ontario Native Women’s Association: Betty Kennedy
Weechi-it-te-win Family Services: Leona McGinnis
Tikinagan Child & Family Services: Thelma Morris
Ontario Native Women’s Association: Kathy Sky
Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres: Terry Swan

Catalyst Research and Communications: Joan Riggs

Externalizing Problems and Problematic Sexual Behaviors: Same Etiology?

Lévesque, Mireille
Bigras, Marc
Pauzé, Robert


Is childhood physical abuse associated with peptic ulcer disease? Findings from a population-based study

Fuller-Thomson, Esme
Bottoms, Jennifer
Brennenstuhl, Sarah
Hurd, Marion

Voices Discovering Each Other as They Rise From Canada's Fragmented Child Welfare System

Trocmé, Nico

2007 Book chapter
Voices of Passion, Voices of Hope

McKay, Sharon

2009 Book chapter
Physical Punishment in Childhood: A Human Rights and Child Protection Issue

Watkinson, Ailsa M.

2009 Book chapter
Agression sexuelle et symptômes de dissociation chez des filles d’âge scolaire

Collin-Vézina, Delphine
Hébert, Martine
Brabant, Marie-Ève

2007 Book chapter
Factors related to chronic neglect in families

Éthier, Louise S.
Bourassa, Louise
Klapper, Ulrich
Lajoie, Jules
Gough, Pamela
Léveillé, Sophie

2007 Information sheet
Pathways to the overrepresentation of Aboriginal children in care

Gough, Pamela
Trocmé, Nico
Brown, Ivan
Knoke, Della
Blackstock, Cindy

2005 Information sheet