Pa. officials say calls to report child abuse are way down

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Officials are sending out another warning that calls to report child abuse are way down.

It’s been repeated since the pandemic first hit the region that without children in front of teachers, coaches or other caregivers who are required by law to report suspected abuse, those reports are way down.

“We all have a responsibility to protect children from child abuse and neglect,” said Pennsylvania Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller.

Miller said they’ve seen a 40% to 50% decline in calls to the ChildLine since schools closed down in the spring.

“Even this summer with summer camps and library story times canceled, we’ve seen a 10% to 12 % decrease in ChildLine reports compared to these same months last year,” Miller said. 

She said you don’t have to be a mandated reporter to make an anonymous report with the ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313. 

And she said with many schools starting the upcoming school year online instead of in the classroom, everyone needs to be aware.

She said signs of abuse include numerous unexplained injuries or bruises; chronic anxiety and expressed feelings of inadequacy; poor impulse control; demonstrating abusive behavior or talk; cruelty to animals or others; flinching or avoiding being touched; or fear of caregiver or parent.