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Child Protective Services

What is Child Abuse?

Pennsylvania's Child Protective Service Law defines abuse as non-accidental serious physical or mental injury, sexual abuse or exploitation, or serious physical neglect caused by acts or omissions of the parent or caretaker.

Types of Abuse

  • Physical Abuse - This is when a child is purposely hurt through hitting, kicking, shaking, biting or similar actions.
  • Mental Abuse - (also known as emotional or verbal abuse) This is when there are repeated threats or insults that are intended to scare or embarrass children or crush their self-esteem.
  • Sexual Abuse - This is when there is any inappropriate sexual activity with a child. Inappropriate touching is the most frequent form of sexual abuse.  Others include using a child for sexual films or prostitution, or exposing a child to adult sexual activity (through photographs, videos, etc.)
  • Neglect - Child neglect is a repeated failure to provide a child with needed care, protection and attention.  This includes physical and medical neglect. 
  • Imminent Risk - This is the act or failure to act that is likely to cause non-accidental serious injury, sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a child. Failure to act means that an adult knew or should have understood the risk for the child.  It can also mean that an adult failed to exercise reasonable judgment in protecting a child involved in an abusive relationship.

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