HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — City, county and state officials marked April as Child Abuse Prevention Month with a call to action. In 2021, there were more than 5,000 cases of child abuse in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry says that her office is working hard to keep children safe, making hundreds of arrests related to child abuse, but there is more work to be done. Officials said protecting children requires everyone’s help.
“Our ability to prevent our youth from being harmed is the touchstone of how we will be judged by future generations. Every child, no matter what they look like, how they identify or where they come for deserve a chance to reach for their dreams,” said Mayor of Harrisburg Wanda Williams.
Williams and other officials made a commitment to protecting children to kick off Child Abuse Prevention Month.
“We must do everything we can to support survivors and seek justice on their behalf,” Attorney General Henry said.
Henry said her office has arrested 500 people on Child Exploitation charges.
“They’ve included teachers, coaches, doctors, police officers, religious leaders,” she said.
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However, she knows more offenders are out there. Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo said nine people are wanted in the Midstate — registered sex offenders under Megan’s Law.
“These are the sort of that we need to work collaboratively to get back into custody,” he said.
Officials said they also need help finding abusers they do not know about.
“We need everyday people, when they see something, to pick up the phone,” Henry said.
There are several resources for people who want to report abuse or human trafficking, including Safe2Say, an anonymous tip line.
“This year alone we have seen a 250 percent increase in the number of tips,” Henry said.
Those tips are crucial to keep children safe.
“Justice is everybody’s business,” Chardo said. “If you see something, say something so that we can act on it. If we don’t know about it, we can’t do anything.”
To report suspected child abuse, call the PA ChildLine at 1-800-932-0313 or the Child Predator Hotline at 1-800-385-1044. To make an anonymous report through Pennsylvania’s Safe2Say tipline, call 1-844-732-2729.