If you are the parent or a relative of a child and you are worried about their safety when they are in the care of one of their custodians, it is likely that you have experienced some red flags that indicate abuse.
Some causes for concern could be seeing unexplained bruising on the child, or witnessing a change of behavior, such as them being more withdrawn or anxious than usual. In addition, you may notice that they react strangely to certain situations, for example they may get frightened or scared when they make a mistake because they fear punishment. If you witness these changes in a child and become concerned for their safety, it is important to have an age-appropriate conversation with them, making them feel safe and expressing concern.
What constitutes child abuse in the state of Pennsylvania?
When any child is seriously physically injured because of an intentional act, it is defined as child abuse under Pennsylvania law. In addition, any serious neglect, for example, the consequences of a child being left unsupervised or denied of basic care will also constitute abuse. This could include lacking adequate nutrition and water as well as not having their hygiene taken care of.
Do I have the right to voice my concerns?
Any person that has a genuine reason to suspect that a child is being abused can report this. However, it is a criminal offense to make a false report of child abuse.
If you have a reason to be concerned about the welfare of a child, it is important that you take action as soon as possible.