Child Abuse in Pennsylvania
According to the data published in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Public Welfare’s 2009 Annual Child Abuse Report, children in the Commonwealth are being victimized and the facts are shocking.
Approximately 9 out of every 1,000 children living in Pennsylvania were reported as victims of suspected child abuse in 2009
Abuse was substantiated for approximately one out of every 1,000 children
43 children died as result of abuse or neglect in 2009
By definition, these reports are classified as founded, indicated or unfounded. Founded cases are those where there is a judicial adjudication that the child was abused. Indicated cases are those where a county agency or regional staff has found abuse has occurred based on medical evidence, a child protective service investigation or an admission by the perpetrator. Cases classified as either founded or indicated are substantiated instances of child abuse or neglect. If a case is determined to be unfounded, there is a lack of evidence that the child was abused. The report is kept on file for one year from the report date and then destroyed.
In 2009, there were 25,342 reports of suspected child abuse. 3,943 of these reports were found to be substantiated. While there were 3,943 substantiated cases, the number of children listed as abuse victims was 3,777 as a result of some children being involved in more than one incident of abuse. Sexual abuse was involved in 51 percent of all substantiated reports. Of the substantiated reports for abuse, the living arrangement of the child at the time of abuse was highest for children living with a single parent. Additionally, of all of the 3,943 substantiated reports, 61 percent of the perpetrators had a parental or parental-like relationship to the child (mother, father, stepparent, paramour of a parent).
A more in-depth look into the substantiated abuse reports reveals troubling and disturbing data. Some of the most glaring statistics are as follows (only substantiated reports were considered):
· 1,843 sexual assault reports
· 363 reports of rape
· 195 reports of incest
· 468 children had bruising resulting from abuse
· 173 suffered lacerations or abrasions
· 130 had abuse cause a bone fracture
· 67 children were burn or scalding victims