The number of reported child abuse cases has risen significantly in Chester County over the past few years, and District Attorney Thomas P. Hogan says he knows why.
In 2012, there were 219 reported cases of child abuse. In 2013, the number rose to 291. In 2014, it rose again to 414. And in 2015, the number was a staggering 1,306 reported cases, according to the Chester County District Attorney's Office.
“The explosive growth in child abuse reports has been caused by three main factors,” Hogan said in a release. “First, after the conviction of Jerry Sandusky in the high-profile Penn State case, overall awareness and sensitivity to child abuse has increased. Second, changes to Pennsylvania law have expanded the types of incidents and categories of people that are required to report child abuse. Third, the District Attorney’s Office, with the support of the Chester County Commissioners, has increased the focus on child abuse, leading to more cases.”
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Child abuse reports come from the Department of Public Welfare and the Department of Children, Youth, and Families. It is then reviewed by the Chester County District Attorney’s Office and handled by detectives or local law enforcement.
Hogan says with the increase in numbers, Chester County will need to devote more law enforcement resources to child abuse cases.
“This will require more investigators and prosecutors, but that is a small price to pay for the good of our children.”