If you suspect a child is being abused or neglected
Anyone who has reason to believe that a child has been or is likely to be abused or neglected has a legal duty under the Child, Family and Community Service Act to report it.
Report child abuse or neglect
Call 250-310-1234 (toll-free anywhere in BC). Visit the Ministry of Child and Family Development website for more information about reporting.
Does the child need to be taken to hospital?
If a child has or may have experienced sexual or physical abuse/assault, and or intentional violence, please visit your nearest hospital emergency department.
Sexual or physical abuse/assault includes:
- sexual touching by anyone (relative, friend, stranger, etc.)
- rape (vaginal, oral and or anal)
- physical violence (such as hitting, kicking, biting, shoving, etc.)
- ongoing suspicion of neglect
Before getting to the hospital
Prior to coming to hospital, and if possible, try to do the following:
- If the child needs to pee, collect it in a clean container and bring it with you, write down what time you collected it. If the child is using diapers, bring the most recent dirty diaper with you and note the time you collected it.
- Do not have the child eat or drink anything if possible.
- Do not shower or bathe the child.
- Do not wash the child’s genitals.
- Do not change the child’s clothes.
- Do not brush or floss the child’s teeth or brush their hair
It’s OK if the child has done any or all of the above. It’s important to bring the child in.
What happens at the hospital
Upon arriving at the hospital, a team of healthcare professionals will:
- Assess children who are suspected of being maltreated
- Physically examine the child
- Perform forensic exams if needed to assess for injury and document findings
- Provide children who have been maltreated and their families with support and referrals (for example: Vancouver Island Suspected Child Abuse & Neglect Program)
The child may also need to see a doctor after their emergency department visit.