Reporting Child Abuse and Sexual Exploitation

Child abuse is a subject that we all hear and read about frequently. It is a term that encompasses mental, physical, and sexual victimization of children. Most camp counselors are not trained to make judgments about whether a child has been a victim of any kind of child abuse. It is important to know that in every province there are agencies that are required to examine reports of suspected abuse and to use their expertise in handling the cases.

If you suspect that a child assigned to you is a victim of child abuse, you should report this to your camp director or camp nurse. They will discuss your suspicions with you and possibly talk to the child. In most provinces, persons with knowledge of suspected child abuse are required to report the case to a child protective services agency. In some provinces, failure to report carries criminal penalties, especially for child care professionals, such as teachers or nurses. In fact, the laws in your province may require you to report suspected child abuse to an appropriate child protection agency even if you have already reported it to the camp director or nurse. Your camp director will be able to explain these responsibilities during staff orientation.