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.

Titlesort icon Authors Year Type of Publication
Alienated Children and Parental Separation: Legal Responses in Canada's Family Courts

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

2007 Journal article
An Epidemiological Study of Children Exposure to Violence in the Fragile Families Study
McLanahan, Sarah
Bryant-Davis, Thema 
Holcombe, Caroline 
James, Sarah 
Adams, Tyonna 
Gray, Anthea 
2014 Report
An examination of delinquency in a national Canadian sample of child maltreatment-related investigations

Van Wert, Melissa
Ma, Jennifer
Lefebvre, Rachael
Fallon, Barbara

2013 Journal article
An Exploration of Investigations with Primary Caregivers with Mental Health Concerns in Ontario in 2013

Houston, Emmaline
Black, Tara
Lefebvre, Rachael
Fallon, Barbara

2017 Information sheet
An Historical Perspective on Family Violence & Child Abuse

Bala, Nicholas

2008 Journal article
Analyse descriptive d'un service d'intervention psychosociale en CLSC pour enfants de 6 à 12 ans victimes d'abus sexuel ou manifestant des comportements sexuels problématiques

Turner, Julie
Chamberland, Claire
Hamelin, Annie
Tourigny, Marc

2001 Report
Anxiety and/or depression in 10-15-year-olds investigated by child welfare in Canada

Tonmyr, Lil
Williams, Gabriela
Hovdestad, Wendy E.
Draca, Jasminka

2011 Journal article
Approach with Caution: Why the Story of One Vulnerable B.C. Youth Can't Be Told

British Columbia Representative for Children and Youth

2016 Report
Assessing Emotional Neglect in Infants

Wotherspoon, Evelyn
Gough, Pamela

2008 Information sheet
Assessing the effectiveness of the NICHD investigative interview protocol when interviewing French-speaking alleged victims of child sexual abuse in Quebec

Cyr, Mireille
Lamb, Michael E.

2009 Journal article