47 20th annual crime prevention guide Emotional maltreatment Among youth maltreatment reported to child welfare, emotional maltreatment is of greater risk to female youth (57% of substantiated cases) than male youth (43% of substantiated cases) between the ages of 12 and 15. Physical abuse • Among those reported to child welfare, female youth aged 12–15 are at greater risk of experiencing physical abuse than are male youth. • Female youth were the subjects of 54% of substantiated cases, compared with 46% of their age-graded male peers. Neglect and exposure to domestic violence For some forms of maltreatment, gender differences in rates of substantiation are relatively similar. Among male and female youth between the ages of 12 and 15: • Fifty-two percent of substantiated cases of neglect involved female youth. Family characteristics of maltreated youth In the development of services for prevention and support, increasing interest has been generated towards understanding what circumstances place some families at greater risk of maltreatment than others. Among substantiated cases across all ages (children and youth), the following family characteristics are linked with increased risk: • Having more than one child or youth in the home • Parental full-time employment • Rental housing • Moving within the past year • Parental social isolation, parental history of violence and alcohol abuse As a group, these risk factors are not surprising. Being a parent who works full time to raise more than one child or adolescent is stressful, as is moving, non-permanent housing and social isolation. A personal history of violence and current alcohol use disorder are two additional life circumstances that can make daily functioning unmanageable; parents in these situations are more likely than others to require support in providing nurturing environments for their children and youth. What can you do? Encourage youth to talk! Unfortunately, there are many circumstances in which youth fear stigma or consequences of further maltreatment when contemplating self-reporting their experience of maltreatment, particularly if they are being maltreated by their caregivers. Consequently, maltreatment of youth remains a largely hidden social problem. All Canadians — adults and youth themselves — have a role in raising public awareness. Your involvement makes a difference! Although it is called “Kids Help Phone,” youth are welcome to call and talk to the counsellors that staff the telephone lines. They can help steer youth towards resources in their community and be there for support during hard or confusing times. The toll-free number is 1-800-668-6868. Citizens If you are ever aware of a situation in which an adolescent is at risk or in danger, call the Child Protection Services in your area. If you are unsure whether the circumstances that concern you warrant investigation, rest assured that child protection workers are well-trained in risk assessment. Information on how to report suspected cases of child maltreatment, how to contact provincial/territorial ministries responsible for children’s services, and local resources for children and parents can be accessed at: If it is an emergency call 9-1-1