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How do I report abuse or neglect?
Suspected abuse or neglect of children may be reported 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at (215) 683-6100 (also TTY), or to the State Hotline, at (800) 932-0313.

Do I have to give my name when I report?
Reports can be made anonymously. However, when the reporter does give a name, it is not revealed to anyone. This practice is strictly enforced.

Physical Abuse: Is non-accidental, serious physical injury of a child, including beatings, burns, bites, strangulation, or immersion in scalding water resulting in bruises, welts, broken bones, scars, or serious internal injuries. Watch for unexplained bruises, bites, black eyes, broken bones, fading bruises, or other noticeable marks.

Sexual Abuse: Is sexual contact between a child and an adult or older child for the sexual gratification of the offender. It can include both physical and non-physical contact, and it is always forced. Watch for a child's difficulty in walking or sitting, a refusal to change for gym or participate in physical activity, or demonstration of bizarre, over-sophistication, or unusual sexual knowledge or behavior.

Emotional Abuse: Is a pattern of behavior that attacks a child's emotional development and sense of self-worth. Watch for extremely compliant, passive, aggressive, or demanding behaviors, or inappropriately adult or infantile, delayed physical or emotional development, talk of or attempted suicide.

Neglect: Is the withholding of or failure to provide a child with the basic necessities of life: food, clothing, shelter, medical care, attention to hygiene, or supervision needed for optimal physical growth and development. Watch for frequently missed school days, begging or stealing food or money, a lack of needed medical or dental care or glasses, a consistently dirty appearance or severe body odor, or alcohol or drug abuse.

Persons Required to Report Child Abuse

In Pennsylvania, persons whose occupation or profession causes them to come into contact with children are required by law, when they have reasonable cause to suspect abuse, to report or cause a report of that abuse to the county child protective services agency. In Philadelphia, that agency is the Department of Human Services.

Persons who are required to report any suspected abuse include any licensed physician, osteopath, medical examiner, coroner, funeral director, dentist, optometrist, chiropractor, podiatrist, intern, registered nurse, practical nurse, hospital personnel engaged in the admission, examination, care, or treatment of person, a Christian Science practitioner, member of the clergy (except in cases of confidential communication), school administrator, school teacher, school nurse, social services worker, day care or any other child care or foster care worker, mental health professional, peace officer or any law enforcement official. Failure to inform or cooperate in an investigation is a crime under Pennsylvania law.

In Philadelphia, the Department of Human Services staffs a 24 hour hotline to receive reports of possible child abuse or neglect. Reports of suspected physical abuse, sexual abuse, or severe neglect are investigated within 24 hours; other reports are investigated promptly.