Are you a victim or concerned about someone in your life?
If you have had a sexual abuse experience or are concerned about someone in your life, it can be difficult to talk
about. Concerns about how others may react, who might find out, being wrong or interfering, etc. can sometimes stop
us from speaking up. It’s important to recognize that if you have been victimized, it is never your fault. It is also
important to know that if you have concerns that a child in your life might have been abused or be at risk of abuse,
you are responsible for reporting those concerns (not proving them). It is often only through the reporting
of concerns that abuse can be uncovered and children protected from harm.
If you are a victim of child sexual abuse and would like to speak with a representative from the Canadian Centre for
Child Protection, or if you are uncertain of what steps you should or can take, please contact us.
If you are concerned about a child being sexually exploited on the Internet, report to
Cybertip.ca. Owned and operated by the Canadian Centre, Cybertip.ca
is Canada’s tipline for reporting online child sexual exploitation. Reports to Cybertip.ca may be submitted anonymously.
What is child sexual abuse?
Child sexual abuse includes a range of behaviours from obvious contact offences such as touching or fondling
a child’s genitalia, to less obvious non-contact offences which include exposing a child to sexually
explicit material. Children can experience trauma from both contact and non-contact sexual offences.
Read Child Sexual Abuse: It is your business
for more information.
Who sexually abuses children?
Individuals who sexually abuse and exploit children come from all walks of life and cannot be easily
identified. To keep children safe, pay attention to behaviours and situations that present
risk. Don’t just focus on an individual’s appearance, character and/or marital status/relationship history.
A well-liked individual that contributes to her/his community is not exempt from having the capacity to
sexually exploit or harm a child.
If you witness an inappropriate interaction between an adult and a child, regardless of the adult’s position
within the community, you need to address the behaviour. For more information about how you can do that
and what steps you can take, contact us.
What do I do if I have concerns about child sexual abuse?
Every province and territory in Canada has laws that stipulate the circumstances under which individuals
are legally obligated to report information about a child who is being abused or is at risk of abuse. In
general, if you have any information that a child is, or might be, in need of protection from a parent/caregiver
or other person, you must report it to a child welfare agency.
Individuals are responsible for reporting concerns (not proving abuse) and allowing the appropriate authorities
to determine how to proceed. Legislation that requires people to report removes any personal or professional
dilemma in reporting.
It is common to minimize or deny what appears to be a disclosure. You might be concerned about interfering,
being wrong and causing problems for the family or the accused. Remember, child sexual abuse can be reduced
through the action of protective adults, and you have a legal obligation to report your suspicions.
What do I do if I have had a sexual abuse experience?
Reporting your own sexual abuse experience takes a great deal of emotional strength.
There can be many benefits to reporting your experience. Making a report and allowing the criminal justice
system to respond to the situation can be an empowering process that can assist in healing. Your concern
about an individual’s continued access to children might also influence your decision to report. Filing
a report could eliminate this individual’s access to other children and the potential harm that could
come their way.
Some people find dealing with the criminal justice system and opening up about what occurred a very difficult
and painful process. Ultimately, making a report is a decision that only you can make. For more information,