October is Child Abuse Prevention Month

At NEOFACS we work with schools, health care providers, police, and the community to keep children safe.  We know that child abuse isn’t an easy topic to talk about, but it is important to include parents, caregivers, families and community partners in raising awareness around a serious issue that exists in our community.  Vulnerable children and youth depend on an aware and active community to get the help that they need.

October 24, 2017 is GO PURPLE DAY. Children’s Aid Societies will be working with schools across the province to GO PURPLE and break the silence that surrounds child abuse. At NEOFACS we have the support of health care organizations, police, and boards of education as well as other partners to wear purple to raise awareness about child abuse prevention and the role of communities in keeping kids safe. Together with local schools, we are reaching out and asking for you to wear something purple on October 24.

Together we can break the silence and keep children and youth safe in our community.



Together we can keep kids safe.

You can make a difference. Recognize the signs.   Learn how to prevent.   Know how to report.

Types of Abuse

Child abuse has many faces, and while all abuse hurts, different kinds of abuse can hurt in different ways.

Physical Abuse: A child is at risk of or has suffered physical harm inflicted by a person having charge of the child. It also occurs when a person fails to adequately supervise, protect, care for or provide for a child. Physical abuse also includes a pattern of neglect in supervising, protecting, caring for or providing for a child.

Sexual Abuse: A child is at risk of or has been sexually molested or sexually exploited by a person having charge of a child or by another person. It also occurs when the person having charge of a child knows, or should know, of the possibility of sexual molestation or exploitation by another person and fails to protect a child.

Emotional Abuse: A child is at risk of or has suffered emotional harm demonstrated by serious anxiety, depression, withdrawal, self destructive or aggessive behaviours or delayed development and there are reasonable grounds to believe this harm results from the actions, failure to act or pattern of neglect by the person having charge of the child. It also occurs when a child exhibits the above serious behaviours and the person having charge of the child does not provide services or treatment to alleviate the harm. Emotional abuse can also include exposure to domestic violence.

Neglect: A child is at risk of or has been harmed as a result of the caregiver’s failure to adequately supervise, protect, care for or provide for a child. Neglect also occurs when a child has a medical, mental, emotional or developmental condition that requires services or treatment and the person having charge of the child does not provide these services or treatment.

Abandonment/Separation: A child has been abandoned; a child’s parent has died or is unavailable to exercise his or her custodial rights over a child and has not made adequate provision for a child’s care and custody. It also occurs when a child is in residential placement and the parent refuses or is unable or unwilling to resume the child’s care and custody.

Caregiver Capacity: No harm has come to a child and no evidence is apparent that a child may be in need of intervention. However the caregiver demonstrates, or has demonstrated in the past, characteristics that indicate the child would be at risk of harm without intervention. These characteristics can include a history of abusing/neglecting a child, being unable to protect a child from harm, problems such as drug or alcohol abuse, mental health issues or limited care giving skills.



It is important to realize that the presence of any one indicator does not mean that a child has been abused. In most instances, abused children will exhibit a number of behavioural and physical indicators. It’s not your responsibility to determine if a child is being abused. Call your local Children’s Aid to report known or suspected signs and indicators of abuse.



Physical indicators

  • injuries that are not consistent with explanation
  • presence of several injuries that are in various stages
  • facial injuries in infants and preschool children
  • injuries inconsistent with the child’s age and developmental stage

Behavioural indicators:

  • cannot recall how injuries occured or offers an inconsistent explanation
  • wary of adults
  • may cringe or flinch if touched unexpectedly
  • infants may display a vacant stare
  • extremely aggressive or extremely withdrawn



Physical indicators:

  • poor hygiene
  • unattended physical or medical needs (i.e. dental work, glasses)
  • consistent lack of supervision

Behavioural indicators:

  • pale, listless, unkempt
  • frequent absence from school
  • inappropriate clothing for the weather, dirty clothes
  • frequently does not bring a lunch



Physical indicators:

  • bed wetting that is non-medical in origin
  • frequent psychosomatic complaints, headaches, nausea, abdominal pains
  • child fails to thrive

Behavioural indicators:

  • severe depression
  • extreme withdrawal or aggressiveness
  • overly compliant, too well mannered, too neat or clean
  • extreme attention seeking
  • displays extreme inhibition in play


Physical indicators:

  • unusual or excessive itching in the genital or anal area
  • torn, stained or bloody underwear
  • pregnancy
  • injuries to the genital or anal areas (e.g. bruising, swelling or infection)
  • venereal disease

Behavioural indicators:

  • age inappropriate play with toys, self or others displaying explicit sexual acts
  • age inappropriate sexually explicit drawing and/or descriptions
  • bizarre, sophisticated or unusual sexual knowledge
  • seductive behaviours



View the Duty to Report Video here: Duty To Report

Why Call?

Ontario’s children are precious and the most vulnerable citizens in society, they deserve a life free of fear and violence. Every Ontarian can protect children by being alert to the subtle and obvious signs of abuse and knowing when and who to call to help a child at risk of harm. If you have ongoing concerns, call your local Children’s Aid. It’s the right thing to do.