What to do if you believe a child has been or is likely to be abused or neglected.

If you have reason to believe a child has been or is likely to be abused or neglected, you have a legal duty to report your concern. Phone 1-800-663-9122 at any time of the day or night.

If a child is in immediate danger, call police (9-1-1 or your local police) to intervene.

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 or assault, 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

If possible:

  • Do not have the child eat or drink anything
  • 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 okay 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 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 pediatric 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.