Child Abuse: Information and Resources

If you are in immediate danger or if you need help right away, call 9-1-1.

If you are under the age of 19 years old and want to talk to someone, you can call the Kids Help Phone free of charge at 1-800-668-6868 or text CONNECT to 686868. You don’t have to tell them your name.

This page contains content pertaining to different types of child abuse, and may trigger an anxiety response, especially in those who have a history of trauma. If you feel triggered, please know that there are resources to help you. Find a list of crisis support links and help lines on the Government of Canada’s Mental Health Support webpage.

If you or a child you know is being abused, this information is for you. The COVID-19 crisis means that many of us are now spending a lot of time at home. Unfortunately for some young people, the additional stress, tension and worry linked to the pandemic can make home an unsafe place to be.

If you experience abuse or see it happening in your family, you might feel scared, embarrassed or confused. If you suspect a child you know is being abused, you might wonder what you can do. You should know that help is available and you are not alone!

There are different kinds of abuse

Abuse is harm that can be physical, sexual or emotional. Neglect is also a form of abuse.

Physical Abuse

When something is done to harm a child’s or an adult’s body, it is physical abuse. Some examples of physical abuse include slapping, kicking, hitting and shaking or threatening to do any of these things.

Sexual Abuse

This is when an adult, teenager or older child touches a child sexually or uses a child in a sexual way. Some examples of sexual abuse include when someone touches a child’s private parts (areas covered by a bathing suit or underwear), makes a child touch or look at another person’s private parts, takes pictures or videos of a child doing these things or tries to get a child to do these things.

Emotional Abuse

Saying mean things to another person to hurt them is a way of bullying, scaring, or putting them down. So is threatening to hurt someone or to do something mean to them, like destroying their toys or other possessions or harming their pets.

Neglect

Physical or emotional neglect happens when a parent or other family member responsible for a child doesn’t give that child the basic things they need to keep them safe and healthy, like food and clothing, or doesn’t take them to the doctor when they need medical care.

Help is available for young people

  • If you are in immediate danger or need help right away, call 9-1-1 or your local police emergency number.
  • You can call the Kids Help Phone free of charge at 1-800-668-6868 or text CONNECT to 686868. You don’t have to tell them your name. More information is available here on the Kids Help Phone website.
  • If you see or experience abuse, tell someone you trust. You can ask the person you trust for help with a safety plan. A sample of a safety plan you could use to plan ahead can be found here. (PDF Version, 68 KB, PDF Help)
  • The Canadian Red Cross has advice to help deal with abuse, bullying, and cyberbullying.

More information for young people and adults

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