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Pennsylvania Child Abuse Laws

Pennsylvania child abuse laws, like the abuse laws found in other states, fall under the criminal or penal code. The crime is broadly defined to include any type of cruelty inflicted on a child, such as mental abuse, physical abuse, sexual assault or exploitation, and neglect. Charges for physical child abuse often include assault and battery. Child abuse laws also include provisions requiring certain adults with access to children (such as teachers and doctors) to report signs of abuse.

Below, you'll find a general overview of Pennsylvania child abuse laws, mandatory reporting requirements, and penalties for failure to report. See Details on State Child Abuse Laws for more general information.

Code Section 23§6303, et seq.
What Constitutes Abuse Act which causes nonaccidental serious physical injury, sexual abuse/exploitation, serious physical neglect constituting prolonged or repeated lack of supervision or failure to provide essentials of life
Mandatory Reporting Required By Physician, coroner, dentist, chiropractor, hospital personnel, Christian Science practitioner, clergy, school teacher/nurse/administrator, social services worker, day care or child center worker, mental health professional, peace officer, law enforcement official, funeral director, foster care worker
Basis of Report of Abuse/neglect Reasonable cause to suspect (within their respective training) that child is abused
To Whom Reported Department of Public Welfare of the Commonwealth
Penalty for Failure to Report or False Reporting Summary offense for 1st violation; misdemeanor in 3rd degree for 2nd and subsequent offenses

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- please contact a Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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