Child Abuse

What is Child Abuse?

If you are under 18 years old and are being abused, it is known as child abuse.

Physical abuse is when someone hurts you on purpose, leaving a mark. Hitting, choking, kicking, burning, hair-pulling are ways someone can hurt you. Abuse can cause serious harm and it might cause cuts, bruises, a sprain, broken bones, or unconsciousness.

Emotional abuse is when your mental or emotional state is seriously harmed. You can be emotionally injured if you are rejected, exposed to violence, alcohol or drug abuse, mental illness in your home, threatened, put down or ignored all the time.

Sexual abuse is when sexual contact, activity or behaviour is forced upon you. It includes any sexual touching, intercourse, exploitation or exposure and can be perpetuated by anyone, including a parent, relative, friend or a stranger.

Neglect is when your caregivers fail to properly take care of you, causing serious harm to your development or endangers you in any way. Physical neglect is the failure to meet your physical needs. This includes failing to provide adequate nutrition, clothing, shelter, health care and protection from harm. Emotional neglect is the failure to meet your emotional needs for affection and a sense of belonging.

Staying Safe

You have a right to be safe. If someone in your house or someone you know is abusing you, it is your parent's or guardian's job to keep you safe. If they cannot keep you safe, you need to get help. When you call for help, you do not have to identify yourself. Call a Human Services Worker at the Crisis Unit at one of the following numbers:

Phone: 780-422-2001
TDD / TTY: 780-427-1561
After Hours Number: 780-427-3390
After Hours Number Toll Free Number: 1-800-638-0715
Child Abuse Hotline Toll Free Number: 1-800-387-5437

If you need protective services, a Human Services Worker will determine what services will be best for you and your family. If at all possible, the Human Services Worker will try to work with your family to improve the situation.

The Human Services Worker will consider:

What course of action is in your best interest?

  • What do you want?
  • If your family is given help and support, will you be safe at home?
  • Do you have relatives, or other sources of support that your family can utilize?
  • Would removing you from your home help the situation, or would it be worse for you?

Only if you are in immediate danger, will you be removed from your home and taken to a safe place. If you must leave your home, the Human Services Worker must have a plan to reunite you and your family as soon as possible, or to provide another permanent home for you.

In foster care you live with a family in their own home. Foster parents take care of you ad their foster child. They might have their own children and they might have other foster children.

While you live in the foster home, they try to treat you like one of the family. They do the same things with you as they do with their own children and they expect you to follow the rules of the house. Your foster parents will help you understand how things work in their home.

Reference: Taken from "Being In Care; Things Kids Ask About" pg.9, AF&SS, 1995.

Getting Help

Do you know someone that is being abused?

Everybody has a responsibility to report child abuse. Call the Crisis Unit at 780-422-2001 if you believe a child is in need of protection. Your report is always taken seriously. Remember, you do not have to prove that abuse is actually occurring; that is the job of child protection staff and police. Your responsibility is to report your concerns and beliefs about suspected abuse or neglect.

In some situations, including physical or sexual abuse, the police will be informed. Based on the particular circumstances, they may choose to become involved.

If you are being abused

You have a right to be safe. If you are not safe, you need to call the Crisis Unit at 780-422-2001 to get help. You do not have to identify yourself.

Provincial Child Abuse Hotline