Family Violence Initiative


Neglect happens when a family member, who has a duty to care* for you, fails to provide you with your basic needs.

This can involve:

  • not giving you proper food or warm clothing
  • not providing you with a safe and warm place to live
  • failing to provide adequate health care, medication and personal hygiene (if needed)
  • failing to prevent physical harm, or
  • failing to ensure you have proper supervision (if needed).

It may also include leaving you alone for too long if you are injured or unwell.

Spouses and common-law partners have a duty to care for each other. Adults have a duty to care for their dependent children as well as their dependent parents.

Some forms of neglect are crimes in Canada, including failure to provide the necessities of life* and child abandonment.* If a child is neglected, child protection authorities could intervene and remove the child from his or her parents.

Sometimes, neglect can hurt just as much as physical abuse.

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