Topic 1: Your Legal Responsibilities

Duty to Report

If you have reason to believe that a child has been or is likely to be abused or neglected, and that the parent is unwilling or unable to protect the child, The Child, Family and Community Service Act states that you must report the suspected abuse or neglect to a child welfare worker. It’s your legal responsibility!

Call your local police detachment or 9-1-1 and ask for the police when:

  • a child is in immediate danger
  • a criminal offence against a child has been or is likely to be committed


What does “reason to believe” mean ?

“Reason to believe” simply means that, based on what you have seen or information you have received, you believe a child has been or is likely to be at risk.

Keep in mind that:

  • You do not need proof – it is the child welfare worker’s job to determine whether abuse or neglect has taken place; your role is to report your concern, including any disclosures or indicators you have witnessed.
  • It does not matter if you think someone else is reporting the situation – you still must make a report.
  • It does not matter if a child welfare worker is already involved with the child – you still must make a report.
  • The legal duty to report overrides any duty of confidentiality, except a solicitor-client relationship or where provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act apply.