Child Abuse Awareness Month: Responding to Disclosures


October is Child Abuse Awareness Month in Canada, and now is the time to pay attention to an epidemic in our country—one-third of Canadians have been abused as a child. That number is far too high, and hopefully the increased attention to this problem this month will serve to educate Canadians and hopefully work to lower those numbers.

32% of Canadians [have] experienced physical abuse, sexual abuse, exposure to intimate partner violence or a combination of these while they were young. [National Post, Canadian Medical Association Journal]

The data from the report (quoted above), was released last year, and it’s just a small snapshot of the big problem our country and our children are facing. Not to mention, a majority of those who cited experiencing abuse as a child, would develop mental health problems later on. Child abuse and trauma is something that affects everyone, across all generations.

Each province and territory has its own child protection legislation that defines the circumstances in which a child is in need of protection, and you can find out more about that on the Government of Alberta website. But if you find yourself in a position where child abuse or neglect is being disclosed, here’s how you can respond:

  • Acknowledge: be sure to acknowledge the child’s situation and their feelings. Be a careful and attentive listener, but refrain from interviewing the child. Listening is more important than asking questions at this point.
  • Comfort: ensure the child they are safe and comfort them. No matter what, child abuse is never the child’s fault.
  • Take notes: document what the child says or what it is that you see, then take action by reporting it to the local police authority.

When in doubt, report suspected child abuse.  You do not have to be 100 per cent certain that abuse has occurred. The safety of the child or youth may be at risk. The authorities have the responsibility to determine the facts and evidence, not you. [Canadian Red Cross]

More resources on identifying and responding to child abuse can be found on the Alberta Government website. Take to social media to speak up for kids as well, you can find us on Twitter and Facebook.

— Written by Amber Craig
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  1. David Lucke / October 11, 2015

    Hi Amber,
    Thank you for informing of Octobers signifigance in the fight against this epidemic. Not a week goes for me in Kitchener that I don’t meet and discuss childhood sexual abuse with adults who have been there.
    I am not involved at the childhood level as it is a such a painful experience to imagine the similarities of what I went through as a child. I am simply not advanced enough in my healing and education to cope with this now.
    So I carry out my commitment to raise awareness, fight for more healing programs and groups and navigate these brave men who are finally able to come forward and seek some direction to find their voice.
    Theo & Kim’s dedication and knowledge they share in their campaigne to educate and encourage all sectors of society gives me the the inspiration to follow in their footsteps.
    It is an honour to be able to encourage or direct these men. Tough but rewarding work. We need others to rise up in their communities to put out the message that there is hope and that you can heal. As Theo says “don’t give up before the miracle.” Thank you Amber and all the members of the Fleury Team who give to receive and carry the torch.


    • Amber Craig / October 12, 2015

      Thank you sincerely for your kind words and for reading our blog post. Thanks David!

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