Reporting child abuse and neglect

Report child abuse and neglect
Report all suspected cases of child abuse or neglect to a children's aid society.

In Ontario, it is the law to report suspected child abuse or neglect.

Everyone, including members of the public and professionals who work closely with children, is required by law to report suspected cases of child abuse or neglect. If you have reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is or may be in need of protection, you must report it to a children's aid society (CAS). Learn how to recognize the signs of child abuse and neglect.

All suspicions of child abuse or neglect must be reported directly to a CAS. CASs have the exclusive mandate, under the Child and Family Services Act, to investigate allegations of child abuse or neglect and to deliver child protection services.

What happens when you report to a CAS

1. Your report will be received by a CAS worker who will assess the levels of risk and urgency for each situation based on comprehensive guidelines.

2. As part of the assessment, the provincial database is checked for past involvement with any CAS. This information is used, along with other information, to determine the need for an investigation.

3. The child protection worker will take the necessary action to protect the child as a result of the investigation.


Learning about child abuse and neglect

Types of Abuse
In general, there are four major types of child abuse:

  • physical abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • emotional abuse
  • neglect

Learn about recognizing the signs of child abuse and neglect.

We all share a responsibility to protect children and youth from harm - a responsibility that extends to those situations where children may be at risk, suffer abuse and/or neglect in their own homes. Ontario's Child and Family Services Act provides protection for these children and youth.

The Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect: It's Your Duty brochure explains the duty to report and provides answers to common questions about your reporting responsibilities. It does not provide legal advice. Please contact a lawyer or a children's aid society if you have questions about a specific situation.

Downloadable resources (PDF)