Improved Outreach Leads to Decline in Pennsylvania Child Abuse Cases

Article excerpt

HARRISBURG, Pa. -- Increased family and community outreach about child abuse prevention and greater public education about the causes of abuse contributed to a decline in child abuse in 2009, said Welfare Secretary Harriet Dichter.

The 2009 Annual Child Abuse Report, released in recognition of April as Child Abuse Prevention Month, shows that reports of suspected abuse and substantiated cases of abuse in the state fell from 2008 to 2009.

"Pennsylvania is taking a decidedly more proactive approach to child abuse prevention, in part by focusing on finding and fixing the root causes of abuse or neglect," Dichter said. "I see the decline in child abuse cases as a strong sign that these efforts are working."

The 2009 report shows:

* Reports of suspected child abuse declined to 25,342 last year, down from 25,655 reports in 2008.

* Substantiated abuse cases fell to 3,943 in 2009 from 4,201 in 2008.

* Sexual abuse was found in 51 percent of all substantiated reports in 2009, also a decrease from the previous year.

* The majority of Pennsylvania counties--39 of 67--saw a decline in the number of abuse cases reported. …