Recently, a serious incident occurred in Edmonton that led to the death of a toddler due to alleged child abuse. Child abuse most often occurs at the hands of family members or people known to the child.
The Government of Canada, Child Abuse Protocol (2014) defines child abuse as: physical abuse, sexual abuse and exploitation, physical neglect, emotional maltreatment, exposure to domestic violence or severe domestic disharmony, and failure to provide essential medical treatment.
Young children are at heightened risk of being victims of abuse by family members for several reasons:
1. They are completely dependent on their caregivers;
2. They may be isolated from individuals outside of their family;
3. They may not have the ability or the resources to disclose the abuse to someone who can help them.
Child abuse can result in physical, emotional, social, and cognitive concerns for victims throughout their life. Child abuse can also result in death.
Often the abuser is not the only one who knows about the abuse. Sadly, often those who have suspicions or knowledge of the abuse do not come forward and report these.
Saskatchewan’s Child Abuse Protocol (2014) stresses that every citizen in Saskatchewan has a moral and, in some cases, legal obligation to report suspected child abuse. It is important not to assume that others have reported suspected abuse. When child abuse is not reported, the abuse may continue and can result in severe injury or death.
Those who make reports are not required to have all of the details or definitive proof. This burden lies in the hands of professionals working in the area of child maltreatment.
To report suspected child abuse, please contact the Ministry of Social Services through its Child Protection Lines:
Your local Police
Your local First Nations Child and Family Services Agency
Regina (South) 1-844-787-3760
Prince Albert (North) 1-866-719-6164
Saskatoon (Centre) 1-800-274-8297
The Saskatchewan Prevention Institute urges all adults in Saskatchewan to become familiar with the Saskatchewan Child Abuse Protocol: publications.gov.sk.ca/documents/17/18812-Saskatchewan-Child-Abuse-Protocol-2014.pdf.
Reporting suspected child abuse is one way to decrease the prevalence of child abuse, as well as to reduce the impact of abuse to the child. As adults, we all are responsible for the health and well-being of children in our communities.
—Lee Hinton,Education and Health Promotion Coordinator,
Saskatchewan Prevention Institute, Saskatoon.