Child abuse happens when a child or young person under 19 is abused or neglected. They can be the victim of adults, older children or youth or their peers. Children and young people can be abused by strangers, acquaintances, boyfriends or girlfriends, family members, adults in positions of trust or authority or others involved in their lives.
The abuse can be physical, emotional or sexual or could be leaving a child alone to look after themselves. Children with disabilities are at greater risk for abuse and may have a harder time letting someone know what is happening so they can get help.
You have a legal obligation to report situations where a child or young person (under 19) needs protection because they, for example, are being abused, neglected or sexually exploited. Immediate action can prevent further child abuse and help the family. To make a report about a child or young person who may need protection or if you are a child or young person who needs help, please call the Helpline for Children.
Help is Available
If you or someone you know is or has been a victim of child abuse, help is available. For contact information and to learn more, please see the Child is a Victim of a Crime (PDF) information sheet from Victim Services and Crime Prevention (Ministry of Justice).