Plan to Protect Dynamics & Definition of Abuse

Dynamics of Abuse

The Canadian Society for the Investigation of Child Abuse is committed to supporting professionals, communities, victims and witnesses involved in the investigation of child abuse through:

  • Development and delivery of educational products and services
  • Promotion of a coordinated, interdisciplinary approach to child abuse investigations
  • Identification and response to key issues and concerns of child abuse investigators
  • Advocacy for excellence and professionalism in the investigation of child abuse
  • Research

For more information by Province go to the Canadian Child Welfare Research Portal

Family-Friendly WiFi is a campaign initiated by Defend Dignity, with the purpose of ensure the safety of our children from the dangers of accessing pornography.

Defend Dignity acts as a catalyst for individuals and churches to end sexual exploitation in Canada. Defend Dignity works to end all sexual exploitation through:

  • Raising awareness on the realities of all forms of sexual exploitation through events and resources.
  • Aiding individuals, non-profits and faith organizations to come alongside victims and at risk youth, through resources and training. 
  • Advocacy for law and policy reform.

Child Abuse Effects

Learn to identify the four types of child abuse, including signs, effects and statistics for each. The site details the impact on sexual abuse victims, profiles sex offenders, and provides a forum to write your own child abuse story.

Department of Justice - Child Abuse Fact Sheet

Receive information about family violence, the laws relating to family violence and the kind of help that is available to someone experiencing family violence.

Drugrehab.comParental substance abuse is a major factor contributing to child abuse and neglect. In turn, childhood abuse massively increases the risk of people turning to drugs and alcohol. Our mission is to be a support and an informational resource to guide families suffering through these types of issues. Find information about Domestic Abuse and Alcoholisms impact on families

Joint Statement on Physical Punishment of Children and Youth was developed by a national coalition of organizations facilitated by the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO)

Definitions of Abuse

“Child abuse refers to an act committed by a parent, caregiver or person in a position of trust (even though he/she may not care for the child on a daily basis) which is not accidental and which harms or threatens to harm a child’s physical or mental health, or a child’s welfare.” (Faith Trust Institute, 2006)

Abuse is categorized as being physical, sexual, or emotional, involving neglect, harassment, improper touching and improper discipline.

Abuse of Vulnerable Adults is sometimes described as misuse of power and a violation of trust.  Elder/Vulnerable Adult abuse can take place in the home, in other residential settings, or in the community.

Physical Abuse

“Physical abuse is the intentional use of force against a child. It can cause physical pain, injury, or injury that may last a lifetime. This type of abuse includes:

  • pushing or shoving
  • hitting, slapping or kicking
  • strangling or choking
  • pinching or punching
  • biting
  • burning
  • throwing an object at a child, and
  • excessive or violent shaking”                                                             (Child Abuse is Wrong, Department of Justice Canada, 2012)

Sexual Abuse

“Child sexual abuse happens when a person takes advantage of a child for sexual purposes. It does not always involve physical contact with a child. For example, it could happen when an adult:

  • makes sexual comments to a child, or
  • secretly watches or films a child for sexual purposes.

Sexual abuse of a child includes:

  • any sexual contact between an adult and a child under 16
  • any sexual contact with a child between the age of 16 and 18 without consent, or
  • any sexual contact that exploits a child under 18.”                             (Child Abuse is Wrong, Department of Justice Canada, 2012)

Emotional Abuse

“Emotional abuse happens when a person uses words or actions to control, frighten, isolate, or take away a child’s self-respect and sense of worth. Emotional abuse is sometimes called psychological abuse. It can include:

  • putting a child down or humiliating a child
  • constantly criticizing a child
  • constantly yelling at a child
  • threatening to harm a child or others
  • keeping a child from seeing their family or friends without good reason, or
  • threatening to move a child out of their home.”                                  (Child Abuse is Wrong, Department of Justice Canada, 2012)


“Neglect happens when a parent or guardian fails to meet a child’s basic needs. Sometimes parents neglect their children on purpose. Sometimes parents don’t mean to neglect their children, but they have so many problems themselves that they can’t look after their children properly. Neglect can include:

  • not giving a child proper food or warm clothing
  • not providing a child with a safe and warm place to live
  • not making sure a child washes regularly
  • not providing enough health care or medicine
  • not paying any attention to a child’s emotional needs
  • not preventing physical harm, and
  • not making sure a child is supervised properly.”                                  (Child Abuse is Wrong, Department of Justice Canada, 2012)


Repeated subtle or overt action, particularly by a person in a position of trust which causes the recipient to feel attacked, demeaned, intimidated or manipulated.


Discrimination is differential treatment based on a personal characteristic which has an adverse impact on an individual or group. Examples of personal characteristics include race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, faith or creed, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, family status or handicap.

Discrimination robs people of their dignity and their ability to fulfill their capabilities. It is important to note that any person or group can discriminate and any person or group can be the target of discrimination.

Exposure to Domestic Violence

Children who live in homes where a parent or caretaker is experiencing abuse are commonly referred to as "child witnesses" or "children who are witnessing" domestic violence. Children's exposure to domestic violence typically falls into three primary categories: hearing a violent event; being directly involved as an eyewitness, intervening, or being used as a part of a violent event (e.g., being used as a shield against abusive actions); and or experiencing the aftermath of a violent event.

Children's exposure to domestic violence also may include being used as a spy to interrogate the adult victim, being forced to watch or participate in the abuse of the victim, and being used as a pawn by the abuser to coerce the victim into returning to the violent relationship. Some children are physically injured as a direct result of the domestic violence. Some perpetrators intentionally physically, emotionally, or sexually abuse their children in an effort to intimidate and control their partner. In addition to being exposed to the abusive behaviour, many children are further victimized by coercion to remain silent about the abuse, maintaining the "family secret." 

Financial Abuse

“Financial (or economic) abuse involves acting without consent in a way that financially benefits one person at the expense of another. This may include:

  • Stealing from someone
  • Keeping someone from making their own financial decisions
  • Withholding money for things someone needs (food, housing or medical treatment)
  • Pressuring someone to share their home or their car, or baby-sit their grandchildren when they don't want to
  • Making frequent requests for money
  • Failing to repay loans
  • Taking someone’s money or cashing their cheques without your permission
  • Pressuring someone to sign over their house or property or to sign legal documents that they don't understand
  • Overcharging for services.”

                                                                                                                  (Elder Abuse is Wrong, Department of Justice Canada, 2015)