(WBRE/WYOU) As we head into child abuse awareness month this April, we’re talking a look into why so many cases go unreported in the commonwealth.
It doesn’t matter where you live…particularly in Pennsylvania where child abuse is believed to be vastly under reported. It has one of the lowest rates of reported child abuse in the nation. Advocacy groups say we have a culture of cover ups.
The recent allegations against the Altoona-Johnstown Diocese, accused of covering up the abuse of hundreds of children, inspired a recent legislative push…to change the statute of limitations.
Therapists like Laura Jacoby, who works at Children’s Service Center, believe child abuse is under reported because not all signs of abuse are noticeable. “Neglect…a child not having the appropriate clothes, housing necessities or water” Jacoby says.
Due to this, child abuse is more rampant in low income neighborhoods and areas with high unemployment. “If those basic needs aren’t met, it increases frustration and intolerance for things” Jacoby says.
So experts say regardless of what Pennsylvania lawmakers decide, the first emphasis of therapists and social work experts is to focus on the healing of abuse victims.