Did you know you have a legal obligation to report suspected child abuse?
Fortunately, most children get the love, care and nurturing they need to feel safe and secure so they can have a healthy childhood. Sadly, though, there are some children who may be in danger of being abused or neglected.
Whether they are our own children, a neighbour’s, or a stranger’s, all British Columbians share responsibility to look after the well-being of children and ensure they get the help they need.
The Ministry of Children and Family Development receives around 30,000 calls a year from concerned citizens about children and youth who might be in need of protection.
Anyone who suspects a child is being abused or neglected should call B.C.’s free, 24-hour Helpline for Children at 310-1234 – no area code is required. Callers can remain anonymous and anyone can call – whether a child or teen in need of help, a friend, a parent or caregiver in crisis, or someone who suspects a child is being abused or neglected.
The helpline is a fundamental resource for preventing and stopping child abuse and getting the children and their families the help they need. On the other end of the phone is a child welfare worker who is ready to listen, help and take action.
A 16-page handbook, Responding to Child Welfare Concerns: Your Role in Knowing When and What to Report, has been produced to help the public learn the warning signs and what to do when a child may be at risk. It is available in several different languages at www.mcf.gov.bc.ca/child_protection/translated.htm.