How To Report Child Abuse

Go back to Info for Parents

The Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Act was signed into law in 1975. It was enacted to protect children from abuse, allow the opportunity for healthy growth and development and whenever possible, preserve and stabilize the family.

According to the Child Protective Service Law, child abuse includes:

  • Serious recent physical injury which is non-accidental
  • Mental injury which is non-accidental
  • Sexual abuse
  • Serious physical neglect of children; under age 18 caused by the acts or omissions of a perpetrator

Any person who, in the course of their employment, occupation, or practice of their profession come into contact with children shall report or cause a report to be made to PA Childline (800.932.0313) when they have reasonable cause to suspect, on the basis of their medical, professional or other training and experience, that a child coming before them in their profession or official capacity is a victim of child abuse.

Childline is a 24-hour toll free telephone reporting system operated by the Department of Public Welfare to receive reports of suspected child abuse.

Within 48 hours after Childline has been contacted, they will forward the report to suspected abuse to the county Children and Youth Services (CYS) where the suspected abuse occurred. The county CYS will then investigate the suspected child abuse report and determine whether the child was abused.

Who can contact Childline?

  • Psychologists, counselors, therapists
  • School principals, teachers, guidance counselors
  • Physicians, nurses
  • Clergy
  • Social workers
  • All child care workers
  • Any occupation and/or volunteer work that involves contact with children

If a child discloses abuse:

  • Believe the child.
  • Assess the situation. Is the child in immediate danger? If yes, call 911.
  • Be calm; a reaction of disbelief, disgust or fear could scare or confuse the child.
  • Don’t interrogate or interview the child.
  • Report ANY suspicion of child abuse.

To report suspected abuse you may call any of the following:

  • PA Childline 800.932.0313
  • National Child Abuse Hotline 800.4.A.CHILD
  • Crisis Shelter of Lawrence County 724.656.STOP