ARCHIVED - Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect 2008


It is now over fifteen years since the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) created the vision and started to plan for the collection of data concerning child abuse and neglect. The Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect 2008 (CIS-2008) represents the 3rd cycle of monitoring that commenced in 1998.

Although it may appear unremarkable that PHAC is involved in the collection of this information at a national level, this does represent some particularly important considerations. Child maltreatment is generally regarded as a social problem not normally included in the range of health problems and diseases that are routinely monitored by a public health organization. PHAC has demonstrated leadership in including child maltreatment as part of its regular monitoring of child health in Canada. The CIS-2008 has taken a multidisciplinary approach in involving a range of skills on its National CIS-2008 Steering Committee including professionals from health, education, justice and social service sectors, Aboriginal people, young people, researchers and provincial/territorial representatives. The National CIS-2008 Steering Committee has performed an important role in guiding the planning, implementation and communications activities to support the excellent work of the Research Team and PHAC staff. This approach has assisted in ensuring that the CIS-2008 is responsive to the changing needs of children, promotes professional education and develops greater public understanding of this critical health problem.

The CIS-2008 provides national data. This is a significant accomplishment and is important for many reasons. The vast majority of child welfare information is available only at a provincial or territorial level and cannot be aggregated. As a consequence, our understanding of key themes and trends in child development is limited and it is not possible to determine how Canadian children are doing. The collection of national data on this important health problem is a notable exception. It is very gratifying that all provinces and territories have been active participants in the CIS-2008, and a number of provinces have taken the opportunity to expand their sample to create their own reports. A similarly encouraging development has been the growth of the First Nations component of the study to focus on the unique circumstances of First Nations children.

We want to take this opportunity to thank all the members of the National CIS-2008 Steering Committee for their tireless effort and dedication to the cause of improving the lives of vulnerable Canadian children. It has been an honour to co-chair such important work with this impressive group. We are highly appreciative of the tremendous work of the group of talented researchers located in universities across Canada who have made the CIS-2008 possible.

Canada’s efforts to support children and families must be based on a strong body of evidence for what works best. Continued investments in monitoring and knowledge development are required to allow Canadians to track how our children are doing.

The CIS-2008 is an outstanding example of highly relevant data collection on a compelling aspect of child development. It enables Canadians, governments and organizations to make informed decisions about the best policies and most appropriate programs for children and their families. The findings help promote an open discussion of child protection concerns in order to understand how we can best prevent and intervene in child maltreatment, and work toward its elimination.

Anne-Marie Ugnat, PhD & Peter Dudding, MM, MSW, RSW

National CIS-2008 Steering Committee

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