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Sen. Casey Introduces New Bill Addressing Child Abuse

U.S. Sen. Bob Casey says the federal government can play a role in prosecuting child abusers.

Casey is introducing a bill, the Speak Up to Protect Every Abused Kid Act, that says all adults responsible for children should be required to report cases of child abuse and neglect.

“It would require all states to pass and enforce a law requiring adults with a professional responsibility to children to report instances of known or suspected child abuse,” Casey said.

The proposal comes in the wake of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal.

Casey said states would have to comply to get money from CAPTA, or the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, a federal program.

Under this legislation, adults with a responsibility to children will be required to report suspected child abuse to police. The current law of who is required to report abuse varies from state to state. Some states for example, don’t require foster parents or camp counselors or sports coaches to be mandated reporters.

“The legislation would close a loophole that allows abusers to get away with heinous crimes and emphasizes responsibility of all adults to protect children from abuse and neglect,“ Casey said.

Pennsylvania recently passed a bundle of related laws that expand who should be mandated reporter.

“Throughout the country we’re probably missing the opportunity to have a more standardized list of mandated reporters which of course would lead to more reporting and more prosecutions and all the really more protection for children,” Casey said.

Approximately 3,500 cases of child abuse are reported in Pennsylvania a year.