How To Recognize Child Abuse
Child abuse is a serious problem but many cases of child abuse go unreported. Since most forms of child abuse occur behind closed doors, reporting depends a great deal on public awareness and the willingness of the community to report suspected abuse to the authorities.
In Alberta, you are legally bound to report all suspected cases of child abuse to Alberta Human Services through your local Child and Family Services Authority.
If you suspect a child is being abused, in Calgary call the Calgary and Area Child and Family Service Authority Social Services Response Team at 403-297-2995 or outside of the Calgary region, call the Child Abuse Hotline toll-free at 1-800-387-5437 to speak with a caseworker.
The following may indicate the possibility of child abuse:
- Unexplained bruises or injuries, especially in places of the body that children do not normally injure during regular play or movement
- Burns which leave a pattern outlining the object which was used to make the burn, such as a cigarette, an iron or an electric stove burner, burns on the hands, feet or buttocks caused by scalding water and rope burns caused by being tied
- A child who is continually hungry, unsuitably dressed for the weather and/or always dirty
- A young child who is often left alone
- A child who is unusually aggressive, angry and hostile to other people
- A child who demonstrates withdrawn behaviour, who refuses to participate or dress appropriately for physical activities
- A child who shows unusual knowledge of sexual matters beyond their age of development, who exhibits sexualized behaviour around adults or other children
- A child who hints or talks outrightly about sexual abuse
- A child or adolescent who repeatedly runs away from home
- An adolescent who is extremely withdrawn or aggressive