How to report a concern

Duty to report

In Nova Scotia, every person has a legal duty to report any reasonable suspicion that a child under the age of 16 has been, is being, or is likely to be, abused or neglected. The law also requires you to report suspected abuse if the young person is aged 16 to 18 years old, if the abuse or neglect is caused by their parent or guardian. Concerns must be reported to the Department of Community Services or Mi’kmaw Family & Children’s Services.

This includes concerns of:

  • physical abuse
  • sexual assault or abuse
  • neglect
  • emotional harm
  • exposure to violence

The fact sheet Children and Family Services Act: Duty to Report outlines these reporting requirements under the Nova Scotia Children and Family Services Act.

How to make a report

To report a concern of abuse or neglect:
Contact the Department of Community Services or Mi’kmaw Family & Children’s Services office where the child lives. 

The list of offices can be found here. Find the office for the location where the child lives, and call the phone number listed.

After regular business hours, call 1 (866) 922-2434.

Reports may be made anonymously, 24-hours a day. Once a report is made, child protection social workers assess the information provided to determine an appropriate response.

If you are concerned about a child being sexually exploited on the Internet, you can also report your concern at

Not sure if you need to report?

If you have a reasonable level of concern that a child is or may be at risk, you are responsible to provide that information to Department of Community Services or Mi’kmaw Family & Children’s Services.

You aren’t required to be 100 percent sure that a child is being abused or neglected before you make a report. It’s not your responsibility to investigate further or gather absolute proof before you call. You simply need to say what you know, providing the information you have.

The workers at Department of Community Services and Mi’kmaw Family & Children’s Services are trained to help make sure that children and families are safe. When they receive a report, workers review the information provided and determine an appropriate response. If there is a need, they may offer the family additional services, education, or other assistance. Receiving a report does not mean the child will automatically be removed from their home.

If you feel unsure or uncomfortable about making a report, know that a Department of Community Services or Mi’kmaw Family & Children’s Services worker can talk with you about your concern when you call. They can help you determine whether your concern needs to be reported.

More information

Government of Nova Scotia
Report Child Abuse or Neglect
Offices with Child Welfare Services

Nova Scotia Trafficking & Exploitation Services System
Duty to Report Commercial Sexual Exploitation

Learn more

Visit our other pages for further information and resources:

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