The law says that anyone - for example, a teacher, doctor, neighbour, or relative - who suspects that a child is being harmed or at risk of being harmed, must report it to a children's aid society. In fact, for most professionals, it is an offence not to report. Harm can include physical abuse, sexual abuse, or neglect. It can also include the risk of a child being exposed to domestic violence, even if the child is not being physically harmed. Children who are exposed to violence can be considered "in need of protection".
The resource below provides detailed information on a wide range of legal issues and options for women who are being abused.
Disclaimer for Family Law Common Questions:
These answers provide general legal information about common and general questions. They are not intended to replace legal advice. In particular, if you are living in or have just left an abusive relationship, you may be dealing with serious safety issues and these answers may not be appropriate for you. For resources and information specific to domestic violence situations, please see: Do you know a woman who is being abused: A Legal Rights Handbook.
For more information, see Reporting child abuse and neglect, a section of the Ministry of Youth and Children Services web site. This resource explains that the public and professionals have a duty to report to a children's aid society any suspicions that a child may be "in need of protection". There are links to questions and answers on the topic and a description of the signs of child abuse and neglect.