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Press Release

Public Health Agency of Canada Releases Key Study on Reported Child Abuse And Neglect

October 4, 2005, For Immediate Release

OTTAWA - The Public Health Agency of Canada today released the report of the second cycle of the Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect (CIS), a national child health surveillance activity that provides information in the area of child abuse and neglect.

"The findings from this report give service providers, policy makers and other stakeholders a strong, comprehensive evidence base that can help them to help improve the lives of children in Canada and to protect children from harm," stated Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh.

The Public Health Agency is working with provinces and territories, researchers and other experts to provide valuable information," said Carolyn Bennett, Minister of State (Public Health). This collaboration demonstrates the Agency's commitment to improving the health of Canadian children through leadership, collaboration, and scientific excellence in public health."

The CIS examines the incidence of child maltreatment investigated by child welfare services, and the characteristics of the affected children and their families. The first cycle of the CIS reported on data from 1998, and the current report contains results from data collected in the fall/winter of 2003. The CIS represents a successful partnership among federal, provincial and territorial governments, child welfare service providers, the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society, university-based researchers of multiple disciplines, the corporate sector, and child advocates. Data are gathered from participating child welfare agencies across Canada. Both cycles of the CIS were conducted by a team of researchers, led by Dr. Nico Trocm , formerly at the University of Toronto, now at McGill University in Montreal.

The CIS provides an understanding of the scope and characteristics of investigated child maltreatment in Canada. This information will help to strengthen screening and investigative procedures, and assist with enhancing programs designed to help children who have been maltreated or who are at risk of being maltreated.

It is important to note that even though the CIS findings show that substantiated child maltreatment has increased in Canada since 1998, these changes likely reflect improved and expanded investigation procedures, increased awareness of child maltreatment, and improved reporting. The elevation in substantiated cases is likely due to increased vigilance on the part of child welfare service providers, other professionals, and the public.

Each chapter in the CIS report presents major topics of interest. These include, for example, age/sex of investigated children and child well-being, and household characteristics such as parents/caregivers in the home. The study is not designed to conduct regional comparisons and variations in rates of investigated maltreatment across Canada are not provided.