By Alex Fuller
October is Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month, and statistics indicate the number of cases of child abuse is on the rise in Ontario.
The number of referrals to Children’s Aid organizations rose to nearly 168,000 this year, and the number of investigations conducted by Children’s Aid has also risen, Emily Strowger, a representative for the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies, told Humber News.
Both trends, she said, are partly because of the deteriorating economic situation in Canada.
This year, OACAS is focusing more on communicating the need for early help in cases of child abuse and neglect.
OACAS said 90 per cent of families receiving assistance from Children’s Aid are able to be helped inside their homes at a domestic level when the aid process is started early enough.
In addition, OACAS is emphasizing the fact that “it takes everyone” to help prevent child abuse. Strowger said it is important to ensure people “know who and when to call.”
“If something a child says or does causes you to feel concerned about their well-being, all you have to do is pick up the telephone and call your local Children’s Aid Society,” Patrick Lake, executive director of the York Region CAS, said in a news release Monday.
According to the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa, less than 50 per cent of Ottawa residents say they know how to report abuse to the CAS.
“People feel it’s hard to infringe on parental rights, and they’re naturally hesitant to involve themselves,” Barbara MacKinnon, executive director of Ottawa’s CAS, said in a news release.
This is the 20th year Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month has been observed in Ontario.
The York Region CAS has produced a television public service announcement highlighting the need for adults to listen to children.
The announcement, titled Kids Say, is viewable below.
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