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 Publication
Distinguishing between poor/dysfunctional parenting and child emotional maltreatment

Wolfe, David A.
McIssac, Caroline


2012 Report
A comparison of First Nations and non-Aboriginal children investigated for maltreatment in Canada in 2003

MacLaurin, Bruce
Trocmé, Nico
Fallon, Barbara
Blackstock, Cindy
Pitman, Lisa
McCormack, Megan

2011 Information sheet
Cortisol reactivity to social stress in adolescents: Role of depression severity and child maltreatment

Harkness, Kate
Stewart, Jeremy
Wynne-Edwards, Katherine

2011 Journal article
Child Maltreatment in Québec: Findings from the Incidence Study of 1998

Tourigny,Marc, Mayer, Micheline, Lavergne, Chantal, Trocmé, Nico, Wright, John & Daigneault, Isabelle

2011 Report
Trauma-Related Symptoms in Neglected Preschoolers and Affective Quality of Mother-Child Communication

Milot, Tristan
St-Laurent, Diane
Ethier, Louise S.
Provost, Marc A.

2011 Journal article
Child physical abuse and suicide-related behavior: A systematic review

Mironova, Polina
Rhodes, Anne E.
Bethell, Jennifer M.
Tonmyr, Lil
Boyle, Michael H.
Wekerle, Christine
Goodman, Deborah
Leslie, Bruce

2011 Journal article
Characteristics of Young Parents Investigated and Opened for Ongoing Services in Child Welfare

Fallon, Barbara
Ma, Jennifer
Black, Tara
Wekerle, Christine

2011 Journal article
Impact of a universal school-based violence prevention program on violent delinquency: Distinctive benefits for youth with maltreatment histories

Crooks, Claire V.
Scott, Katreena
Ellis, Wendy
Wolfe, David A.

2011 Journal article
Determinants of maltreatment substantiation in a sample of infants involved with the child welfare system

Williams, Gabriela
Tonmyr, Lil
Jack, Susan M.
Fallon, Barbara
MacMillan, Harriet L.

2011 Journal article
Contributions of the glucocorticoid receptor polymorphism (Bcl1) and childhood abuse to risk of bulimia nervosa

Steiger, Howard
Bruce, Kenneth
Gauvin, Lise
Groleau, Patricia
Joober, Ridha
Israel, Mimi
Richardson, Jodie
Ng Yin Kin, Francois

2011 Journal article