It is incumbent upon all individuals to do their parts to protect the welfare of children. One of the most pressing children’s issues in Alberta is that of child abuse and even though parents are primarily responsible for the safety and well-being of their children, there may be times when others have to step up and report suspected incidents that may be harming a child. Anyone who suspects a child is being neglected, abused or sexually exploited should report it to a Child Intervention caseworker in Alberta.
Reporting can be made anonymously, but if not, names and personal information of those reporting incidents will not be divulged. If a child trusts an adult enough to tell that adult what is happening, the adult should reassure the child that what’s going on is not his or her fault; tell the child he or she is believed and supported; comfort the child and react to what the child is saying without fear, shock, disbelief, anger or judgement. A caseworker will ask the person making a report a number of questions about the child, his or her family and anything pertinent to ascertain whether or not the child is in immediate danger.
Alberta has a child abuse hotline that is accessible 24 hours a day for reporting purposes. It is not incumbent upon the person calling to prove abuse allegations, but it is important incidents be reported along with any information that could help in a possible investigation of the abuse. Authorities are there to help children and work with families in these cases.
Alberta residents who are uncertain about what to do regarding certain serious children’s issues may wish to speak with an experienced lawyer. Having some knowledge about options may help people to do what they believe is right with the knowledge their rights are protected by the law. Everyone has some role when it comes to keeping children safe from harm and doing what is in their best interests.