Difficult to talk about. Ugly to think about. Impossible to imagine.


But it is happening. It happens everyday.

And it's happening here, in our community.

Child Abuse

Any form of physical, emotional and/or sexual mistreatment or lack of care (neglect) that causes injury or emotional damage to a child or youth.



Emotional abuse is an attack on the child’s self-concept and self-worth.

It is a pattern of ongoing behaviour by the parent or guardian that seriously interferes with the healthy development or the mental or emotional functioning of the child.

Emotional abuse often happens along with other forms of abuse, such as neglect or physical abuse.


Physical abuse is when someone causes or threats an injury or trauma to any part of a child’s body. It is the most visible form of child abuse and it is not an accident. Physical abuse can happen once or many times.

These injuries are often the result of unreasonable, severe corporal punishment of a child.

Physical abuse is a pattern. If it remains, the pattern often increases in severity.


Sexual abuse is the use of a child for sexual gratification. It includes inappropriate exposure or subjection of a child to sexual contact, activity, or behavior. Sexual abuse can include “non-touching” activities such as making a child watch sexual acts.

Sexual exploitation of children and youth under the age of 18 years is any type of sexual activity with children and youth in exchange for money, drugs, food, shelter or any other considerations. This is the case whether or not children or youth consider themselves to be consenting. Sexual exploitation of children and youth is never considered prostitution or consensual.


Neglect is failing to provide age-appropriate basic care such as food, clothing, shelter, love and affection, medical and dental care, education, and protection from harm.

If the parent or guardian cannot or will not provide these things to a child, it is neglect.

While neglect is not always obvious, a pattern of ongoing neglect or inadequate care can often be seen.


We need to do better

The impacts of child abuse are devastating and long lasting. These impacts lie at the root of so many issues impacting our community every day. Mental Health, Addiction, Homelessness, when you peel back the layers, when you dig deep enough, so often, there it is... Child Abuse.


Every community has a responsibility to give the gift of a Child Advocacy Centre to the vulnerable children of their community.

Barb Spencer, Former CEO

Zebra Child Protection Centre