You can protect your toddler from abuse by being aware and alert.
Always know where your child is. Be actively involved in her activities. And always know the people who care for your children, including names, phone numbers and addresses.
You should also know everyone who might be around your toddler in someone else's care. Here’s more advice for keeping your child safe:
- Be sensitive to changes in your toddler's behaviour or attitude, paying close attention to your intuition that "something isn't quite right".
- Encourage your toddler to tell you if he’s not comfortable with caregivers or any other people. This means that, as a parent, you must listen carefully and encourage your toddler to share feelings, especially about friends and relatives. Pay attention when your toddler shies away from someone.
- Educate yourself (read, listen and ask).
- You can also support your toddler to develop personal boundaries by not forcing her to give hugs or kisses. Allow your toddler to refuse unwanted kisses, hugs or tickling.
- Help your toddler learn that "no means no" when it comes to someone touching his body.
If you have questions or suspect child abuse, contact a child welfare worker. The worker can help you determine if there’s cause for concern. You don’t have to provide your name. Remember, it’s always best to err on the side of caution.
Anyone who has reason to believe that a child has been or is likely to be abused or neglected has a legal duty under the Child, Family and Community Service Act to report the matter to a child protection social worker in either a Ministry of Children and Family Development office, or a First Nations child welfare agency that provides child protection services.
Reporting Child Abuse
If you suspect abuse, report it by calling your local Ministry of Children and Family Development office (listed in the blue pages of your phone book) Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
You can also call the Helpline for Children. Dial 310-1234 (no area code needed) Monday to Friday, 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 a.m. and all day Saturday, Sunday and on statutory holidays.
For more information on reporting child abuse, visit the Ministry for Children and Family Development website.
Resources & Links:
HealthLink BC: Your Toddler: Safe Ways to Explore