Reporting child abuse and neglect

We all share a responsibility to protect children from harm - a responsibility that extends to those situations where children suffer abuse and neglect in their own homes. Ontario's Child and Family Services Act (CFSA) provides for protection for these children.

Section 72. of the Act states that members of the public, including professionals who work with children, must promptly report any suspicions that a child is or may be in need of protection to a children's aid society. The Act defines the phrase "child in need of protection" and sets out what must be reported to a children's aid society. This definition is set out in detail on the following pages. It includes physical, sexual and emotional abuse, neglect, and risk of harm.

This brochure explains the "duty to report" section of the Child and Family Services Act and answers common questions about your reporting responsibilities. It also reprints relevant portions of Section 72. for your convenience. It does not provide specific legal advice. Please consult a lawyer or a children's aid society about any specific situation.

Alternative Formats:
Reporting child abuse and neglect (PDF)

Learn More:

Recognising the signs of child abuse and neglect