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USE YOUR VOICE

York Region Children's Aid Society protects children from abuse, including neglect, promotes their well-being within their families and communities, and provides a safe, nurturing place for children and youth to grow up.

As part of that mission, each year, during October, we remind you - and everyone in our community - to "Use Your Voice" to help protect vulnerable children.

If you suspect child neglect or abuse, please call us right away - seven days a week, 24 hours a day.

905.895.2318 or 1.800.718.3850

You don't have to prove neglect or abuse. You don't have to identify yourself if you don't want to do so.

You just need to let us know if you've seen signs of abuse or neglect.

Use Your Voice!
A phone call to CAS will bring immediate help to a child at risk of abuse.

SUBTLE SIGNS OF CHILD ABUSE

Physical Abuse

Physical abuse occurs when a child is injured or harmed by his or her caregiver, or when the caregiver fails to do something to protect the child.

Subtle signs of physical abuse may include but are not limited to:

  • Child wears long sleeves/long pants even in warm weather
  • Excessive crying
  • Child seems anxious when other children cry
  • Avoidance of physical contact with others
  • Recurrent nightmares or disturbed sleep patterns
  • Behavior extremes-aggressiveness or withdrawal
  • Poor self-concept
  • Whispering speech
  • Loss of appetite for no apparent reason, or excessive appetite
  • Child is wary of adults
  • Reenactment of abuse using dolls, drawings, or friends
  • Clinging
  • Delinquent behavior
  • Abrupt decline in school performance

Alone, a subtle sign doesn't necessarily mean anything. But if multiple signs exist, please contact us at 905.895.2318 or 1.800.718.3850


EMOTIONAL ABUSE

Emotional abuse occurs when a caregiver treats a child in an extremely negative way that damages self esteem and the concept of self.

Subtle signs of emotional abuse may include (but are not limited to):

  • Sudden change in self-confidence
  • Headaches or stomachaches with no medical cause
  • Destructive behaviour
  • Abnormal fears, increased nightmares
  • Failure to gain weight (especially in infants)
  • Desperately affectionate behavior
  • Speech disorders (stuttering, stammering)
  • Habit disorders (biting, rocking, head-banging)
  • Argumentative or consistent temper tantrums
  • Bullying tactics
  • Easily frustrated
  • Behavior extremes-disobedient or overly compliant

No individual subtle sign is proof of abuse. But multiple signs can be. If you have any suspicions at all, please contact us at 905.895.2318 or 1.800.718.3850.


SEXUAL ABUSE

Sexual abuse is any sexual exploitation of a child by a caregiver or someone else.

Subtle signs of sexual abuse may include but are not limited to:

  • Frequent sore throats or urinary infections
  • Constant sadness
  • Reenactment of abuse using dolls, drawings, or friends
  • Clinging
  • Thumb-sucking
  • udden fear of the dark
  • Behavior extremism-aggressiveness or withdrawal
  • Recurrent nightmares or disturbed sleep patterns
  • Loss of appetite for no apparent reason, or excessive appetite
  • Bedwetting
  • Avoidance of undressing or wearing extra layers of clothes
  • Abrupt decline in school performance

By itself, a subtle sign can mean practically anything. If several signs are present, however, please contact us at 905.895.2318 or 1.800.718.3850


NEGLECT

Neglect is a pattern where a child's caregiver fails to provide basic needs such as food, sleep, safety, supervision, appropriate clothing or medical treatment.

Subtle signs of neglect may include (but are not limited to):

  • Missing key articles of clothing
  • Over or under-dressed for weather conditions
  • Height and weight significantly below age level
  • Consistent school absenteeism
  • Persistent hunger
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Low self-esteem
  • Body odour
  • Child assumes adult responsibilities
  • Always dirty and severely unkempt
  • Sleepiness/always tired
  • Child steals food/lunch money from others

Sometimes a subtle sign is nothing. When several exist though, there could be a problem. If you have any suspicions at all, please contact us at 905.895.2318 or 1.800.718.3850

For more information, visit UseYourVoice.ca