Question: If we are on a call and suspect child abuse or neglect may be taking place what would be the best way to contact child services? Also could we run into confidentiality problems? An example would be if we are called to a residence for a woman with abdo pains. After assessing the scene we notice an infant sitting next to drug paraphernalia.
Great question. The responsibility of the paramedic to report child abuse is actually clearly answered by the BLS manual on page 7 in section 6- Pediatrics.
It states: "If you feel that child abuse has occurred it is not sufficient to report your suspicions to the receiving hospital staff. It is your legal obligation to report your suspicions directly to the Children's Aid Society".
Emergency Health Services Branch, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care (2007). Basic life support patient care standards. Retrieved from:http://www.health.gov.on.ca/english/public/program/ehs/edu/pdf/bls_patient.pdf