Reporting Child Abuse in BC
If a child is in immediate danger, call police (call 9-1-1 or your local police) to intervene and a child protection social worker should be contacted to determine whether the child is in need of protection.
If you think a child or youth under 19 years of age is being abused or neglected, you have the legal duty to report your concern to a child welfare worker. Phone 1 800 663-9122 at any time of the day or night.
Your call will be answered by the Provincial Centralized Screening team (PCS) and their primary role is to receive and assess child protection reports and initial requests for ministry service across the province, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Provincial Centralized Screening can be reached at the following numbers: 1-800-663-9122 or 604-660-4927 (Lower Mainland & outside BC).
Duty to Report Abuse or Suspected Abuse
The Child, Family and Community Service Act (CFCSA) requires that anyone who has reason to believe that a child or youth has been or is likely to be abused or neglected, and that the parent is unwilling or unable to protect the child or youth, must report the suspected abuse or neglect to a child welfare worker.
- Learn more in the Child Abuse Prevention Handbook, which has been revised to clarify reporting requirements regarding children and youth living in situations where domestic violence exists.
If You are a Community Service Provider
As a Service Provider, you have a key role to play in helping to keep children and youth safe.
- Read about your role in the Child Abuse Prevention Handbook for Service Providers, which has been revised to clarify reporting requirements regarding children and youth living in situations where domestic violence exists.
How To Report
To make a report, please call 1 800 663-9122 any time of the day or night. The person who answers will make sure your concerns are directed to the right place.
What To Report
When making a report to a child welfare worker, it is helpful to include your name, your phone number and your relationship to the child or youth. But you can make an anonymous call if you prefer. The child welfare worker will want to know:
- The child’s or youth’s name and location;
- Whether there are any immediate concerns about the child’s or youth’s safety;
- Why you believe the child or youth is at risk;
- Any statements or disclosures made by the child or youth;
- The child’s or youth’s age and vulnerability;
- Information about the family, parents and alleged offender;
- Information about siblings or other children or youth who may be at risk;
- Whether you know of any previous incidents involving, or concerns about the child or youth;
- Information about other persons or agencies closely involved with the child, youth and/or family;
- Information about other persons who may be witnesses or may have information about the child or youth;
- Information about the nature of the child’s or youth’s disabilities, his or her mode of communication, and the name of a key support person; and
- Any other relevant information concerning the child, youth and/or family, such as language or culture.
You do not need all this information to make a report. Just tell the child welfare worker what you do know. Time is of the essence in responding, so if you have concerns, do not delay.
After You Report
Reports of suspected child abuse and neglect are assessed on a case-by-case basis and, depending on the circumstances, will warrant different types of responses. Child welfare workers choose the response that is least disruptive to the child or youth, and will keep the child or youth safe.
After the assessment process is complete, if the child or youth is not at immediate risk of harm, the child welfare worker may:
- Offer the family support services;
- Refer the child, youth and/or family to a community agency; or
- Take no further action, if no further action is needed.