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Safe Kids > Duty to Report

Duty to Report

You can help keep children safe.

Anyone with reasonable grounds to suspect a child or youth is being abused—or know for a fact a child or youth is being abused—is required by law to report the situation to Family and Children’s Services of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville. Please do so immediately by calling us at 1-855-667-2726.

This duty to report is set out in Section 72.(1) of the Ontario Child and Family Services Act (1990), which states that:

Despite the provision of any other Act, if a person, including a person who performs professional or official duties with respect to children, has reasonable grounds to suspect child abuse or neglect, the person shall forthwith report the suspicion and information on which it is based…

The duty to report applies for any child or youth who appears to be under the age of 16. It is an ongoing obligation—which means if someone makes a report and, later, has reasonable grounds to suspect a child or youth still needs protection, they are required to make a further report.

The duty to report applies to all people: professionals, officials and the general public.

What are “reasonable grounds to suspect” child abuse?

A person does not need to be certain a child or youth needs protection to make a report. “Reasonable grounds” are what an average person suspects based on his or her training, background or life experience, when exercising normal and honest judgment.

Sometimes children will tell an adult they are being or have been abused. They can communicate this directly or indirectly. If a child tells you about being abused or neglected, stay calm. Listen carefully and offer reassurances. Let them know you’re sorry this happened and that it’s not his or her fault. Do not promise to keep the information a secret or that everything will be fine now—it may take some time before the situation is resolved.

Do contact us as soon as possible: call 1-855-667-2726 any time. Our lines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

All calls are confidential.

Your identity will be kept confidential except as required by law. Individuals who call are protected from legal action for reporting your concerns unless they have deliberately made a false accusation. This is established under section 72. (1.3) of the Child and Family Services Act.