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
How do social workers respond to potential child neglect?

Tufford, Lea
Bogo, Marion
Asakura, Kenta

2015 Journal article
Intergenerational transmission of child abuse and neglect: Real or detection bias?

Widom, Cathy Spatz
Czaja, Sally J.
DuMont, Kimberly A.

2015 Journal article
Geographic variation in racial disparities in child maltreatment: The influence of county poverty and population density

Maguire-Jack, Kathryn
Lanier, Paul
Johnson-Motoyama, Michelle
Welch, Hannah
Dineed, Michael

2015 Journal article
Paige’s Story: Abuse, Indifference and A Young Life Discarded

British Columbia Representative for Children and Youth

2015 Report
Efficacy of neglect interventions for Indigenous children, families and communities

McGinn, Carrie Anna 
Damasse, Jean 

2014 Report
Critical Injuries and Deaths: Reviews and Investigations Update # 20

British Columbia Representative for Children and Youth

2014 Report
Child abuse and mental disorders in Canada

Afifi, Tracie O.
MacMillan, Harriet L.
Boyle, Michael
Taillieu, Tamara
Cheung, Kristene 
Sareen, Jitender 

2014 Journal article
Urgent protection versus chronic need: Clarifying the dual mandate of child welfare services across Canada

Trocmé, Nico
Kyte, Alicia
Sinha, Vandna
Fallon, Barbara

2014 Information sheet
A profile of reported emotional maltreatment in Canada in 2008

Kozlowski, Anna
Lwin, Kristin
Fallon, Barbara

2014 Information sheet
Hidden in Plain Sight: A statistical analysis of violence against children


2014 Report