What are the responsibilities after taking the Child Abuse course in PA?

After you complete child abuse and neglect prevention training in PA you have a responsibility to follow your training and be alert for signs of abuse and to report reasonable suspicions of abuse or neglect. Here is a brief summary of what you will be required to report after completing the training:

Report Physical Child Abuse

Any non-accidental physical injury inflicted on a child will be called physical child abuse.

Bodily Injury is physical abuse that causes an impairment of physical condition that results in the presence of substantial and prolonged pain. The law considers two parameters when identifying physical child abuse: impairment and pain. Impairment is a limitation on what a child would be able to do under normal situations and pain is the infliction of physical pain as the result of an injury.

Physical child abuse and neglect may result in:

  • Cuts and scratches, bruises, burns, welts, sores, or blisters
  • Broken bones, dislocated joints, tore muscles and ligaments, or sprains
  • Internal injuries, including spine and brain damage and internal bleeding
  • Emotional and psychological trauma resulting in mental and behavior issues

Report Emotional/Mental Child Abuse

Acting in a way that is detrimental to a child’s mental health and social development often ends up being labeled as emotional child abuse. Emotional child abuse is not usually one isolated event but rather repeated behavior. Unlike physical abuse which could be a single slap or a single shove that results in serious injury, emotional abuse often builds over time and results in the child suffering trauma and injury mentally or emotionally.

Emotional child abuse legally may include any of the following categories:

  • Terror –Any action that is used explicitly to scare or intimidate a child or to coerce them into submission or to deliberately cause them emotional harm.
  • Shame and Humiliation – Criticizing and belittling a child, publicly mocking or humiliating them, caking them names, intentionally undermining their feelings.
  • Rejection – Giving little to no normal care, attention, love, or human interaction- deliberate rejecting signs of affection from the child and ignoring them and their needs.
  • Isolation – Keeping a child confined and isolated from peers, allowing little to no contact with others, intentionally keeping child fearful of other people.
  • Corruption – Encouraging the child take part in any sort of criminal activity, teaching criminal behavior, using a child to break the law, and making the child a target for crime.

Report Child Sexual Abuse

Child sexual abuse refers to the use of a child for sexual purposes, including involving a child in sexual acts, or forcing him to interact with another child for an adult’s sexual gratification. Under child abuse prevention laws in Pennsylvania, such acts may include:

  • Forcing or encouraging child to be involved in sexual acts or to watch them being done
  • Forcing a child to touch or look at other’s sexual organs or their own
  • Engaging in inappropriate sexual talk with a child or teaching them inappropriate things
  • Fondling that involved a child- forcing a child fondle an adult, or fondling of a child
  • Performing oral sex on, or receiving oral sex of any kind from a child
  • Penetration of any type that involves a child engaged in a sexual act
  • Child pornography- making, selling, producing, or being in possession of
  • Child prostitution- participating in prostitution by making it or using it

Do Your Duty and Report!

Whether it is physical child abuse, mental/emotional child abuse, or sexual child abuse, you have an obligation to report! After completing the training course you are required to apply what you have learned and report any suspected or known instance of child abuse that occurs.

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