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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: July 1, 2019 04:10 PM
From: Representative Dan K. Williams
To: All House members
Subject: Police Training – Child Abuse
Despite many legislative efforts, child abuse is still a major problem in Pennsylvania. According to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services, statewide substantiated reports of child abuse increased from 2017 to 2018, and there were 44,063 reports of child abuse in the Commonwealth in 2018. Child abuse cases are unique and require consistent, objective, and proactive action by police and judges.

Police officers and minor judiciary, such as our magisterial district judges, are often the earliest to interact with the parties of a child abuse case. Our state laws that punish child abusers can only be effective if those at the first point of contact with these cases are trained to recognize child abuse. Under my bill, police officers and the minor judiciary will receive mandatory training that will help them to recognize child abuse early on and to be fully aware of the reporting requirements, as well as the full complement of resources available for effective forensic interviewing of abuse victims.

Child abuse cases can be sensitive and challenging to get right, so we must do all we can to ensure that our police and judiciary are prepared to handle these incredibly important situations. Please join me on this next step towards protecting Pennsylvania’s children.

Introduced as HB1910