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Minerva Pediatr. 2013 Feb;65(1):37-49.

Sources of child maltreatment information in Canada.

Author information

  • 1Health Surveillance and Epidemiology Division, Public Health Agency of Canada, Ottawa, ON, Canada.



Interest in understanding the problem of child maltreatment is widely shared by governments, organizations of physicians, and others. Our objective was to describe and discuss sources of information in Canada that could be used to help understand the nature and scope of the problem, either within any province or territory, or across all of Canada.


A series of web searches and a focused literature review were conducted to identify sources of child maltreatment information. Government departments responsible for child welfare were also contacted on an as-needed basis in order to identify additional sources.


Identified sources included: child welfare administrative provincial/territorial data and reports based on those data, other child welfare information, surveys of child protection workers and shelter workers, mortality/morbidity data, police data, direct surveys of children and their parents, and the 2011 Canadian census. Each type of source had strengths and limitations in terms of how it could describe the nature and scope of the problem of child maltreatment.


Increased use of morbidity and mortality data, data linking, expanding existing databases, and increasing the use of general population surveys could expand understanding of child maltreatment in Canada.

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