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
Walking this path together: Anti-racist and anti-oppressive practice in child welfare

Carriere, Jeannine
Strega, Susan

2015 Book
Building Bridges: The Collaborative Development of Culturally Appropriate Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect for the South Asian Community

Maiter, Sarah
Trocmé, Nico
George, Usha

2000 Report
Risk Factors Associated With the Chronicity of High Potential for Child Abuse and Neglect

Ethier, Louise S.
Couture, Germain
Lacharité, Carl

2004 Report
A Longitudinal study of the effects of chronic maltreatment on children’s behavioral and emotional problems

Ethier, Louise S.
Lemelin, Jean-Pascal
Lacharité, Carl

2004 Report
Quebec Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse, Neglect, Abandonment and Serious Behaviour Problems (EIQ)

Mayer, Micheline
Tourigny, Marc
Wright, John

2002 Report
In the Best Interests of Children and Mothers: A Proposed Child Welfare Response to Violence Against Women

Morrow, Eileen

2003 Report
Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse or Neglect 1993 (OIS-1993) 1998 Report
Ontario Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect 1998 (OIS-1998)

Trocmé, Nico
Fallon, Barbara
MacLaurin, Bruce
Daciuk, Joanne
Bartholomew, Sharon
Ortiz, Jairo
Thompson, Julie
Helfrich, Warren
Billingsley, Diane

2002 Report
Ontario incidence study of reported child abuse and neglect 2003 (OIS 2003): Major Findings Report

Fallon, Barbara
Trocmé, Nico
MacLaurin, Bruce
Knoke, Della
Black, Tara
Daciuk, Joanne
Felstiner, Caroline

2005 Report
The Changing Face of Child Welfare Investigations in Ontario: Ontario Incidence Studies of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect (OIS 1993/1998)

Trocmé, Nico
Fallon, Barbara
MacLaurin, Bruce
Copp, Barbara

2002 Report