The following are critical aspects of the act and not the Act in it’s entirety:
Interpretation – “Child” means, a person who is under the age of 18 years
Meaning of significant harm (Section 3)
For the purpose of this Act “significant harm”, in relation to a child, means ill-treatment or impairment of health or development of a child and includes circumstances where-
a) the child has suffered physical harm inflicted by a parent of the child or caused by the failure of a parent to supervise and protect the child adequately;b) there is a substantial risk that the child will suffer physical harm inflicted or caused as described in paragraph (a);
c) the child has been sexually abused by a parent of the child or by another person where the parent of the child knows or should know of the possibility of sexual abuse and fails to protect the child;
d) there is substantial risk that the child will be sexually abused as described in paragraph (c);
Abuse of Children (Part III Section 19)
Mistreatment, abandonment etc of child
Any person who, having the care and control of, or parental responsibility for, any child, willfully abuses, mistreats, neglects, deserts or abandons the child or causes or procures the child to be abused, ill-treated neglected, deserted or abandoned is guilty of an offense and is liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $3,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months.
Mandatory reporting of child abuse (Section 20)
1) Every person who has information indicating that a child is suffering or has suffered significant harm, shall forthwith report that information to the Director (Child & Family Services).
2) Notwithstanding subsection (1) or any statutory provision, a person who performs professional or official duties with respect to a child including-
a) a physician, nurse, dentist, pharmacist, psychologist or other health care professional;
b) a school principal, teacher, counselor, social worker, youth or recreational leader, member of the clergy or child care worker; or
c) a police officer, probation officer or youth care worker, who, in the course of that person’s professional or official duties, has reasonable grounds to suspect that a child is suffering or has suffered significant harm, shall forthwith report the suspicion to the Director together with the information upon which it is based.
Investigations or prosecution of sexual offences where the victim or complainant withdraws statement (Section 20A)
Investigations or prosecution of sexual offences where the victim or complainant is a child, shall not be dependent upon the report or accusation made by the victim or complainant, and that the investigations or proceedings that have been commenced may continue even if the victim at any time after the commencement thereof, decides to withdraw his statement or complaint.