The 2012 Annual Child Abuse Report reflects an unprecedented increase of 2,286 calls of suspected abuse and/or neglect to the state’s child abuse reporting hotline, more than any other year on record.
“We cannot say for sure why there is a large increase, but we do know that there has been a surge in awareness of and conversations around child abuse in Pennsylvania, which is a very positive step toward curbing and reporting abuse,” Acting Secretary of Public Welfare Beverly D. Mackereth said.
The annual report also provides a breakout of substantiated cases of child abuse by county, noting:
The central region of the state had 974 substantiated cases of abuse;
The northeast had 790 substantiated cases;
Southeastern Pennsylvania had 1,002 substantiated cases of abuse; and
Western Pennsylvania had 799 cases.
The report also notes that 33 Pennsylvania children died as a result of abuse in 2012. This is one less than the previous year. Every child fatality is closely examined by a child fatality review team to determine what, if any, risk factors may have contributed to the child’s death.
“There are several ways we can help to prevent abuse from happening,” Mackereth said. She recommends these tips from the PA Family Support Alliance:
Let parents know that it is okay to ask for help;
Spend time together as a family;
Get to know your neighbors and community;
Listen to children; and
Know how to recognize and report child abuse and solve problems without violence.
The 2012 Annual Child Abuse Report is available on the Department of Public Welfare’s website at www.dpw.state.pa.us. Click on publications and type in: “2012 Annual Child Abuse Report.”
To report suspected child abuse, call ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313. To learn more about preventing child abuse, visit the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance at www.pa-fsa.org.