SUSPECT CHILD ABUSE OR NEGLECT? CALL CHILDLINE: 1-800-932-0313
Signs of Abuse/Neglect
 
The term "child abuse" shall mean intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly doing any of the following:
(1) Causing bodily injury to a child through any recent act or failure to act.
(2) Fabricating, feigning or intentionally exaggerating or inducing a medical
symptom or disease which results in a potentially harmful medical evaluation or treatment to the child through any recent act.
(3) Causing or substantially contributing to serious mental injury to a child
through any act or failure to act or a series of such acts or failures to act.
(4) Causing sexual abuse or exploitation of a child through any act or failure to act.
(5) Creating a reasonable likelihood of bodily injury to a child through any
recent act or failure to act.
(6) Creating a likelihood of sexual abuse or exploitation of a child through any recent act or failure to act.
(7) Causing serious physical neglect of a child.
(8) Engaging in any of the following acts: manner that endangers the child.
(i) Kicking, biting, throwing, burning, stabbing or cutting a child in a manner that endangers the child. 
(ii) Unreasonably restraining or confining a child, based on consideration of the method, location or the duration of the restraint or confinement.
(iii) Forcefully shaking a child under one year of age.
(iv) Forcefully slapping or otherwise striking a child under one year of
age.
(v) Interfering with the breathing of a child.
(vi) Causing a child to be present at a location while a violation of 18 Pa.C.S. § 7508.2 (relating to operation of methamphetamine laboratory) is occurring, provided that the violation is being investigated by law enforcement.
(vii) Leaving a child unsupervised with an individual, other than the child's parent, who the actor knows or reasonably should have known:
(A) Is required to register as a Tier II or Tier Ill sexual offender under 42 Pa.C.S. Ch. 97 Subch. H (relating to registration of sexual offenders), where the victim of the sexual offense was under 18 years of age when the crime was committed.
(B) Has been determined to be a sexually violent predator under 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.24 (relating to assessments) or any of its predecessors.
(C) Has been determined to be a sexually violent delinquent child as defined in 42 Pa.C.S. § 9799.12 (relating to definitions).
(9) Causing the death of the child through any act or failure to act.
(10) Engaging a child in a severe form of trafficking in persons or sex trafficking, as those terms are defined under section 103 of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (114 Stat. 1466, 22 U.S.C §7102).
 
"Sexual abuse or exploitation." Any of the following:            
     (1) The employment, use, persuasion, inducement, enticement or coercion of a child to engage in or assist another individual to engage in sexually explicit conduct, which includes, but is not limited to, the following:
(i) Looking at the sexual or other intimate parts of a child or another individual for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire in any individual.
(ii) Participating in sexually explicit conversation either in person, by telephone, by computer or by a computer-aided device for the purpose of sexual stimulation or gratification of any individual.
(iii) Actual or simulated sexual activity or nudity for the purpose of sexual stimulation or gratification of any individual.
(iv) Actual or simulated sexual activity for the purpose of producing visual depiction, including photographing, videotaping, computer
depicting or filming. This paragraph does not include consensual activities between a child who is 14 years of age or older and another person who is 14 years of age or older and whose age is within four years of the child's age.
     (2) Any of the following offenses committed against a child:
(i)  Rape as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3121 (relating to rape).
(ii) Statutory sexual assault as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3122.1 (relating to statutory sexual assault).
(iii) Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse).
(iv) Sexual assault as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3124.1 (relating to sexual assault).
(v) Institutional sexual assault as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3124.2 (relating to institutional sexual assault).
(vi) Aggravated indecent assault as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3125 (relating to aggravated indecent assault).
(vii) Indecent assault as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3126 (relating to indecent assault).
(viii) Indecent exposure as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 3127 (relating to indecent exposure).
(ix) Incest as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 4302 (relating to incest).
(x) Prostitution as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 5902 (relating to prostitution and related offenses).
(xi) Sexual abuse as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 6312 (relating to sexual abuse of children).
(xii) Unlawful contact with a minor as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 6318 (relating to unlawful contact with minor).
(xiii) Sexual exploitation as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 6320 (relating to sexual exploitation of children).
 
"Bodily injury:" Impairment of physical condition or substantial pain
 
"Serious mental injury:" A psychological condition, as diagnosed by a physician or licensed psychologist, including the refusal of appropriate treatment, that:
(1) renders a child chronically and severely anxious, agitated, depressed, socially withdrawn, psychotic or in reasonable fear that the child's life or safety is threatened; or
(2) seriously interferes with a child's ability to accomplish age-appropriate developmental and social tasks.
 
"Serious physical neglect:" Any of the following when committed by a perpetrator that endangers a child's life or health, threatens a child's well-being, causes bodily injury or impairs a child's health, development or functioning:
(1) A repeated, prolonged or egregious failure to supervise a child in a manner that is appropriate considering the child's developmental age and abilities.
(2) The failure to provide a child with adequate essentials of life, including food, shelter or medical care.
 
 

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF CHILD ABUSE/NEGLECT

PHYSICAL ABUSE 
Physical Indicators:
  • Unexplained injuries 
  • Unbelievable or inconsistent explanations of injuries 
  • Multiple bruises in various stages of healing 
  • Bruises located on faces, ears, necks, buttocks, backs, chests, thighs, back of legs, and genitalia 
  • Bruises that resemble objects such as a hand, fist, belt buckle, or rope 
  • Injuries that are inconsistent with a child's age/developmental level 
  • Burns
Behavioral Indicators:
  • Fear of going home 
  • Extreme apprehensiveness/vigilance 
  • Pronounced aggression or passivity 
  • Flinches easily or avoids being touched 
  • Play includes abusive behavior or talk 
  • Unable to recall how injuries occurred or account of injuries is inconsistent with the nature of the injuries 
  • Fear of parent or caregiver
SEXUAL ABUSE
Physical Indicators:
  • Sleep disturbances 
  • Bedwetting 
  • Pain or irritation in genital/anal area Difficulty walking or sitting 
  • Difficultly urinating
  • Pregnancy
  • Positive testing for sexually transmitted disease or HIV
  • Excessive or injurious masturbation
Behavioral Indicators:
  • Sexually promiscuous
  • Developmental age-inappropriate sexual play and/or drawings
  • Cruelty to others
  • Cruelty to animals
  • Fire setting
  • Anxious
MENTAL ABUSE
Physical Indicators:
  • Frequent psychosomatic complaints (nausea, stomachache, headache, etc.)
  • Bed-wetting
  • Self-harm
  • Speech disorders
Behavioral Indicators:
  • Expressing feelings of inadequacy
  • Fearful of trying new things
  • Overly compliant
  • Poor peer relationships
  • Excessive dependence on adults
  • Habit disorders (sucking, rocking, etc.)
  • Eating disorders
NEGLECT
Physical Indicators:
  • Lack of adequate medical and dental care
  • Often hungry
  • Lack of shelter
  • Child's weight is significantly lower than what is normal for his/her age and gender
  • Developmental delays
  • Persistent (untreated) conditions (e.g. head lice, diaper rash)
  • Exposure to hazards (e.g., illegal drugs, rodenUinsect infestation, mold)
  • Clothing that is dirty, inappropriate for the weather, too small or too large
Behavioral Indicators
  • Not registered in school
  • Inadequate or inappropriate supervision
  • Poor impulse control
  • Frequently fatigued
  • “Parentified” behaviors