PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A local agency is taking steps to make sure people who work with children can better spot and report child abuse.
Nurses, teachers, therapists, and just about anyone in the state of Pennsylvania who works with children must be trained on how to recognize and inform authorities about child abuse.
“It’s important for all of us to step up to the plate,” said Mark Castrantas with the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance. “Children who are abused are frightened, often times they are threatened if they report the abuse, they are going to get beat or abused or maltreated even more.”
Castrantas says since the Jerry Sandusky child abuse case, nearly two dozen new child abuse laws have been introduced in the state.
On Monday, Castrantas taught a workshop highlighting some of the changes to the law that professionals need to know when it comes to handling suspected child abuse cases.
“They now require abuse has to be reported immediately, it doesn’t matter if it’s second or third hand information. It has to be reported anyway, they’ve modified or changed some of the categories of abuse. They’ve added new categories of abuse,” he explained. “They’ve expanded who is a mandated reporter now, they’ve changed emotional abuse to serious mental injury, and they’ve also added human trafficking both sex trafficking and labor trafficking to the laws.”
Castrantas says if professionals who work with kids do not properly report suspected abuse cases, they can face repercussions for their actions or lack thereof.
“It’s up to folks like us to step forward and try to help kids,” he said.