From the Winnipeg Police Service–October is Child Abuse Prevention Month and in order to help prevent crime, we have to understand what it is and how to recognize it.

Child abuse is any form of physical, emotional and/or sexual mistreatment or lack of care that causes injury or emotional damage to a child or youth. The misuse of power and/or a breach of trust are part of all types of child abuse.

Types of abuse include:

  • Emotional abuse is a chronic attack on a child or youth’s self-esteem by a person in a position of trust or authority. Rejecting, degrading, isolating, terrorizing, corrupting, ignoring, and exploiting are all forms of emotional abuse.
  • Exposure to family violence is when children or youth witness violence being done by one family member to another.
  • Physical abuse is when a person in a position of trust or authority purposefully injures or threatens to injure a child or youth.
  • Neglect is the chronic inattention to the basic necessities in life such as:
  • Physical neglect: A child’s need for adequate food, clothing, supervision, housing, or protection from the environment is not adequately met.
  • Emotional Neglect: A child does not receive adequate emotional support, care, or affection.
  • Medical Neglect: A child does not receive adequate medical, mental or dental health care.
  • Educational neglect: A school age child does not receive appropriate educational services, including special educational services if needed. Home schooling should not be viewed as educational neglect.


Sexual abuse is when a younger or less powerful person is used by an older or more powerful child, youth or adult for sexual gratification. Sexual abuse can be contact or non-contact:
-Forced to pose for seductive photos
-Forced to look at sexual body parts of another person

Most common signs of abuse:
Behavioral indicators:
• Pale, listless, unkempt
• Frequent absences from school
• Inappropriate clothing for the weather, dirty clothes
• Engaged in delinquent acts, alcohol/drug abuse
• Frequently forgets lunch
Physical indicators:
• Poor hygiene
• Unattended physical problems or medical needs, e.g. dental work, glasses
• Consistent lack of supervision
• Unsafe or hazardous living environment

Physical Abuse
Behavioral indicators:
• Cannot recall how injuries occurred or offers an inconsistent explanation
• Wary of adults
• May cringe or flinch if touched unexpectedly
• Infants may display a vacant stare
• Extremely aggressive or extremely withdrawn
• Indiscriminately seeks affection
• Extremely compliant and/or eager to please
Physical indicators:
• Injuries that are not consistent with explanation
• Presence of several injuries that are in various stages of healing
• Presence of various injuries over a period of time
• Facial injuries in infants and preschool children
• Injuries inconsistent with the child’s age and developmental phase

Emotional Abuse
Behavioral indicators:
• Severe depression
• Extreme withdrawal or aggressiveness
• Overly compliant, too well mannered, too neat or clean
• Extreme attention seeking
• Displays extreme inhibition in play
Physical indicators:
• Bed wetting that is non-medical in origin
• Frequent psychosomatic complaints, headaches, nausea, abdominal pains
• Child fails to thrive

Sexual abuse
Behavioral indicators:
• Age inappropriate play of a sexual nature with toys, self or others
• Age inappropriate sexually explicit drawing and/or descriptions
• Bizarre, sophisticated or unusual sexual knowledge
• Prostitution
• Seductive behaviors
Physical indicators:
• Unusual or excessive itching in the genital or anal area
• Torn, stained or bloody underwear (may be observed if the child needs bathroom assistance)
• Pregnancy
• Injuries to the genital or anal areas, e.g. bruising, swelling or infection
• Venereal disease

Every member of the community should be on the lookout for a potentially bad situation.
We all have a role to play in Crime Prevention.
Take Action
If you see something– say something!

Emergency Dial: 911
Non-emergency Call: 204-986-6222
Report a Crime Online:


* If you think a child is being harmed or neglected, contact CFS at 1-866-345-9241. Visit for more information. 
More Resources:

Kids Help Phone

Child and Family All Nations Coordinated Response Network (ANCR)
Child and Family Services

(204) 944-4100

Child Protection Centre
(204) 787-2811 or 787-2040 (intake)

Wpg Police Service Child Abuse Unit – (204) 986-6378
Wpg Police Service Victim Services (204) 986-6350

Marymound – Sexual Abuse Treatment Program
(204) 944-7400

Knowles Centre – Sexual Abuse Treatment Program
(204) 339-1951 ext. 151


Kids in the Know