Parents, caretakers urged to be vigilant for signs of child abuse

    The city of Philadelphia is putting out a call to those who see child abuse to report it to the appropriate authorities.

    The call from city officials to report child abuse comes in the wake of the Penn State scandal in which at least eight boys may have been molested.

    Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams said Tuesday a change in a child’s demeanor could be a sign of sexual abuse.

    “One out of every six boys before they are 18 is sexually abused,” Williams said. “But what we know is all of these cases are woefully underreported. People need to call the police, we are here to prevent crime, we want people to call the DHS child abuse hotline so we can do all we can to prevent these crimes.”

    “DHS alone cannot prevent abuse,” said Anne Marie Ambrose, the head of Philadelphia’s Department of Human Services. “We need the partnership of the entire community to try to do that.”

    Warning signs of abuse could include anything from shying away from someone or a dramatic change in diet, Williams said.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.