Child Abuse and Neglect

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Anyone who has reason to believe that a child has been, or is likely to be abused, or neglected has a legal duty under the Child, Family and Community Service Act to report the matter.

Report child abuse or neglect

Call 310-1234 (toll-free anywhere in BC). Visit the Ministry of Child and Family Development for more information about reporting.

Does the child need to be taken to hospital?

A child may benefit from the Pediatric Forensic Nursing Service if:

  • the child has or may have experienced sexual or physical abuse/assault, and/or intentional violence within the past seven days. This includes: 
    • sexual touching by anyone (relative, friend, stranger, etc.)
    • rape (vaginal, oral and or anal)
    • physical violence (such as hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, etc.)
    • ongoing suspicion of neglect

If the child has experienced any of the above situations, go to your nearest emergency department.

Before getting to the hospital

If you can, try to do the following:

  • If the child needs to pee, collect it in a clean container and bring it with you. Write down what time you collected it. If the child is using diapers, bring the most recent dirty diaper with you and note the time you collected it.
  • Do not have the child eat or drink anything if possible
  • Do not shower or bathe the child
  • Do not wash the child’s genitals
  • Do not change the child’s clothes
  • Do not brush or floss the child’s teeth or brush their hair

It’s ok if the child has done any or all of the above. The most important thing is to bring the child in.

Getting to the hospital

When the child arrives at the Surrey Memorial Hospital Emergency Department, tell the triage nurse what has (or may have) happened to the child. The child will be assessed to be sure they are okay.

After we know the child is okay, a Paediatric Forensic Nurse Examiner may be consulted. A team of professionals that range from child life specialists to social workers may also be contacted.

For all cases of child abuse, assault or neglect, the Ministry of Children and Family Development will be contacted. The police may also be contacted.

What happens at the hospital

The Forensic Nursing Service (FNS) at Surrey Memorial Hospital is a team of specially trained registered nurses who can give health care and gather forensic (legal) samples. Forensic nurse examiners work closely with health, social and legal services. They are often part of a team of people caring for the child.

As part of a team of professionals, the Pediatric Forensic Nurse Examiner may:

  • Assess children who are suspected of being maltreated
  • Physically examine the child
  • Perform a forensic exam to assess for injury and document findings
  • Provide children who have been maltreated and their families with support and referrals

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