How to report a concern

Duty to report

If you suspect that a child under the age of 19 has been harmed or is at risk of being harmed, you have a legal duty to report those concerns immediately 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 Cybertip.ca.

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 responseThey 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 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