The Southeast Child and Family Services Abuse Unit receives referrals and conducts investigations pertaining to allegations and reports of child abuse for the Southeast First Nations.

The Abuse Unit's role is to ensure the safety and well-being of all of children in the home where the abuse is alleged to have occurred.

The Unit works as part of a multidisciplinary team with the community's SECFS workers, R.C.M.P., Nursing Station/Health Centre, and the Toba Centre. The team investigates the allegations of physical and sexual abuse toward any child or youth (ages 0-17) who may or may not be involved in the child welfare system. The CFS abuse investigations are conducted alongside the criminal investigation. If a child and or family is not ready to make an official report to the law enforcement, our team will continue their investigation to determine the safety and risk of harm to children.

The investigators present their cases to the SECFS Child Abuse Committee on a monthly basis to report new cases, provide updates on existing cases, and are required to meet strict timelines for Committee decisions. Investigation outcomes that are concluded as being Inconclusive or Valid Abuse are presented to the Agency's Child Abuse Committee. The Committee is a vital part of our abuse team as they provide feedback and expertise on our investigations.


  • Director - Heather Unfried
  • Supervisor - Lauren Turney
  • Investigators
    • Cynthia Eyeshemitan
    • Joshua Gatta
    • Madison St. Godard
  • Administrative Assistant - Ashton McCorrister

The Personal Health Information Act (PHIA)

The PHIA allows health care practitioners to share personal health information without the consent of the person (patient) in order to report a child in need of protection, or to co-operate with a child protection investigation. Health care practitioners governed under The Mental Health Act (MHA) are also required to report suspected child abuse. A child does not have to be under CFS agency apprehension for these situations to apply.

Abuse Referral Criteria

Physical Abuse - Physical punishment that causes an injury to a child, or an injury caused by an omission of care. The Abuse Unit will also investigate any physical punishment to a child over the age of twelve that meets the definition of Section 43 of the Criminal Code of Canada.

Sexual Abuse - The Criminal Code of Canada indicates the legal age to consent to sexual activity is 16 years. Sexual activity of a child 12 or 13 years of age is permitted if the sexual activity is consensual and the person engaging in the sexual activity is within 2 years of the child's age. Sexual activity of a child 14 or 15 years of age is permitted if the sexual activity is consensual and the person engaging in the sexual activity is within 5 years of the child's age.

Sexual Exploitation - Allegations concerning the coercing, luring, or engaging a child under the age of 18 into a sexual act. The Abuse Unit will investigate cases of child pornography, interfamilial sexual abuse, historical abuse cases, all nonconsensual sexual activity, and sexual activity that is outside the legal age, even if a child indicates sexual activity was consensual.

Emotional Abuse - Defined under Section 1(1) of the Child and Family Services Act as an act or omission by any person where the act or omission results in "emotional disability of a permanent nature in the child or is likely to result in such a disability". Allegations that meet this definition will be investigated by the Abuse Unit.

Cyber Tip Referrals - Cyber Tip is the national tip line for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children through the Canadian Centre for Child Protection. Cyber Tip forwards reports to law enforcement and to the CFS agency whose jurisdiction is responsible for designated intake.

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