Violence and
maltreatment

Are Quebec’s youngest children safe from harm?

Very young children may be more vulnerable to maltreatment than older children because they are less exposed to public view. Unlike older school-aged children, they are sometimes isolated at home.

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Highlights

What is maltreatment?

Maltreatment of children includes all forms of neglect and abuse that could endanger a child’s security, development, or physical and psychological integrity. Failure to respond to children’s needs is as much a form of maltreatment as physical or psychological acts committed against them.

In Quebec, cases of maltreatment under the Youth Protection Act include abandonment, neglect, psychological ill-treatment, sexual abuse and physical abuse.

Why do we need to be concerned?

The effects of maltreatment on young children are greater because they are more vulnerable and dependent on adults for their daily care and basic needs.

What youth protection data tell us

The rate of substantiated reports in 2015-2016 increased by 27 % as compared to 2007-2008.

EVOLUTION IN NUMBER OF SUBSTANTIATED REPORTS

Number of reports/1,000 children between 0 and 5
Graphique-ÉVOLUTION DES SIGNALEMENTS DE NÉGLIGENCE JUGÉS FONDÉS
EVOLUTION OF SUBSTANTIATED REPORTS BASED ON FORM OF MALTREATMENT

What household surveys tell us

It is useful to look at data produced by family studies that ask questions about violent parental behaviour. Even if all forms of violent behaviour do not affect children’s physical or psychological integrity, they increase the risk of maltreatment.

In 2012, what proportion of children between the ages of 0 and 5 were victims of…

severe physical violence at least once during the previous year?

4,3 %

repeated minor physical violence (three times or more) during the previous year?

16,9 %

repeated psychological abuse (three time or more) during the previous year?

43,8 %

Are there any known risk factors?

Some factors can increase the risk of being victim of maltreatment.

How can we act collectively to prevent maltreatment?

There are solutions. Several social measures have been shown to be effective or promising in preventing maltreatment

Do similar measures exist in Quebec?

Some measures already exist in Quebec and should be preserved, although their implementation is not always optimal and could be improved.

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