What Can You Do If You See Child Abuse In Canada?
A study in Ontario found that 31 percent of males and 21 percent of females experienced physical abuse in their childhood. In 2003, neglect was identified as the most common form of mistreatment for children in Canada. Sexual abuse of children was also rampant for both boys and girls, and especially for youth of Aboriginal descent. The stark truth is that child abuse is a severe problem in Canada. The only way to curb it is for citizens to take a stand. Cases such as Mountie's child abuse trial screamed out the need for neighbors and local authorities to be more vigilant.
How do you identify a victim of child abuse?
Child abuse can constitute of emotional abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse, and neglect. Victimized children always show behavioral and physical indications of abuse. The symptoms of child abuse may include bruises or scars, paleness due to starvation, bleeding in the genital or anal regions, and aggressive or fearful behavior. Professionals who deal with children, such as teachers and doctors, must be equally conscious if their wards show such symptoms.
What if the accused are the victim's parents?
Most children suffering from child abuse are able to identify their assailant. Hence, it is likely that someone close to the victim is involved. This is the shocking truth and most of these cases never see the light of day as the victims are suppressed. The horrific case of Jeffrey Baldwin is an example of an entire family suppressing the fact that two of its members were being neglected. It is the duty of every citizen to report such cases. Professionals should crosscheck medical certificates to determine if they are falsified.
How do you report child abuse?
If you have reasonable grounds of suspecting child abuse, contact the local child welfare services, provincial / territorial ministries or departments. If none of these can be contacted, call the local police. Unless the child is in immediate danger, it will take the authorities a few days to take action, as they have to assess the situation thoroughly.
What are the ramifications of reporting child abuse?
Reporting child abuse is not a one-time act. The authority that you have reported to may call upon you for further questioning. You may also become a witness and be required to testify in court. Your contact details will be required but not be published publicly. The government of Alberta has taken a positive step towards quashing child abuse by publishing a handbook on Responding to Child Abuse. Such proactive measures by the government along with the cooperation of citizens will diminish such cases. People who report suspected child abuse or neglect cases cannot be sued unless they do so with malicious intentions or without reasonable grounds.
Abused children are fearful of being shunned by society. Such children unwittingly keep quiet about undergoing abuse. Seldom has there been a report of a false charge of abuse from a child. Parents who suspect their child might be a victim of abuse but have scruples with going to the authorities, can consult legal counsel. If you suspect a child is suffering from abuse, don’t hesitate to take the correct measures.