What is Child Abuse? - Alberta Human Services - Government of Alberta

What is Child Abuse?

Child abuse is any act of maltreatment of a child by a parent or guardian that results in injury or harm. The Child, Youth and Family Enhancement Act defines the four main types of abuse as:

  1. neglect
  2. emotional injury
  3. physical abuse
  4. sexual abuse

These pages will give you information about each type of abuse and possible signs to be concerned about. Each situation and family is different so, while some of the signs might point to abuse, they might also mean that the family is facing other problems which may contribute to child abuse such as:

  • a lack of parenting skills
  • immature parents
  • parents with negative childhood experiences
  • social isolation
  • alcohol and/or drug use in the home
  • manufacture of drugs, indoor marijuana grow operations, drug trafficking, or other forms of illegal drug activity in the home
  • family violence in the home
  • frequent family crisis
  • unrealistic expectations of a child’s behaviour and capacities

If you suspect a child is being abused, call 310‑0000 to get the telephone number of your local office or call the Child Abuse Hotline at 1‑800‑387‑5437 (KIDS) to speak with a caseworker.

Fact Sheet

Modified: 2015-10-01
PID: 15387