Daycare Sexual Abuse Lawyers in Pennsylvania
No parent who entrusts a child to a daycare center in Pennsylvania should have to worry about whether he or she will be abused.
Unfortunately, though, there is a hidden history of abuse in such facilities that has only recently started to be exposed.
The most vulnerable people in society are also the most abused. This includes children in daycare centers.
Most employees in daycare facilities excel at their jobs and would never dream of abusing a child. However, these facilities also attract predators who are experts at evading detection – and who abuse the system to be able to abuse children.
Sexual abuse of children should never be tolerated, Fortunately, it has become easier in recent years to hold perpetrators accountable and to prosecute cases of historical and current abuse.
The child sexual abuse lawyers at Andreozzi & Foote are at the forefront of assisting victims receive justice in Pennsylvania.
UPDATE: HB 963 to extend the statute of limitations on sexual abuse
The realities of daycare facilities
Daycare facilities are popular places in Pennsylvania and around the US.
Around 11 million children under the age of five enter daycare centers each week around the country. Many spend long hours there and are enrolled in multiple child care arrangements due to parents’ working hours.
And most children have a wonderful experience.
It’s almost impossible to get accurate statistics on child sexual abuse in daycare centers because traditionally there have been no mandatory reporting requirements for staff who suspect abuse.
How common is daycare sexual abuse?
Daycare abuse takes many forms: neglect is the most common complaint, often leading to cases of mental trauma in children. Physical abuse is also reported.
According to the American Society for the Positive Care of Children, around 8.3 percent of abused children are abused sexually (these statistics are not specific to daycare facilities).
However, the Office on Child Abuse and Neglect (US Health and Human Services) reports that “less than one percent (of child abuse cases) are reported to have occurred in child care settings”. It sets the number of sexual abuse cases at 21.9 percent, though.
As the child sexual abuse problem has become more high profile in society in recent years (particularly concerning clergy abuse cases), the number of cases in daycare centers appears to have increased too.
We have worked on enough cases in Pennsylvania and elsewhere to know that every victim of such crimes deserves justice. With most children in daycare being so young, any case of sexual abuse is horrific and must be investigated fully.
What constitutes sexual abuse in Pennsylvania daycare facilities?
Nobody likes to have to consider a child being sexually abused.
However, by learning more about what actually constitutes child sexual abuse – and identifying the possible signs of abuse – we can become more adept at preventing it.
Contrary to what some people think, sexual abuse does not always involve physical contact. It can take many forms and each can have a major impact on a child’s psychological development.
Of the following five types of sexual abuse only two or three may involve physical contact:
- Exposing a child’s genitals: If a daycare worker “helps” s child go to the bathroom, for instance, or watches a child undress, this could be construed as abuse.
- Inappropriate photography: Most photography is innocent but if it is carried out by a daycare employee and deemed as inappropriate, it may be illegal and you may have grounds to file a complaint or lawsuit.
- Showing pornography: If pornography is shown to children at daycare centers or a child is forced to watch or listen to sexual acts, this is obviously highly inappropriate and the perpetrator can be prosecuted.
- Inappropriate touching: If staff in a daycare center handle a child inappropriately or force a child to touch someone else inappropriately, it may lead to a claim of sexual abuse.
- Sexual stimulation or intercourse: Any case of sexual stimulation or intercourse involving a child is illegal and should not go unreported.
How can we protect children from daycare abuse?
Five of the main ways that children can be protected from abuse in daycare centers are:
- Stricter hiring policies and procedures with background checks conducted on every employee.
- Checks and balances in place in daily routines, such as avoiding instances where an adult is alone with a child in an isolated area of the center or needs to help children with changing their clothes.
- Ensuring that there are adequate staffing and enough supervision of children in care centers.
- Educating all employees on the signs of child abuse so that they know what to look for: this should help identify early warning signs of abuse.
- Having a clear procedure for reporting suspected child abuse.
These three relatively simple measures are good starting places for keeping children in daycare facilities safe and secure.
Parents should thoroughly check facilities and speak to other parents about their experiences before selecting a center to send their child to.
Protect your child from daycare abuse in Pennsylvania
As a parent, it is important also to educate your children about what abuse is and when and how they should tell someone about inappropriate behavior.
Here are some basic pointers to prepare your child for life in a daycare center without having to fret about possible abuse:
- Educate your child on appropriate and inappropriate touching
- Teach your child about when it is appropriate to say “no” to an adult
- Let your child know that they’ll never get in trouble for anything they tell you
- Ask your child every day about what they did at daycare
Other sensible steps you can take as a parent include:
- Maintain a close relationship with the daycare center and staff
- Performing background checks on daycare employees who interact most with your child
- Reading up on how to prevent child abuse
If your child has been abused in daycare in Pennsylvania or you suspect abuse but cannot prove it, getting legal assistance is the logical next step.
Start with a free and confidential consultation with a child abuse attorney at Andreozzi & Foote. Rest assured that all the information you provide will be treated confidentially, including the identities of you and your child.
Verdicts and Settlements
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One of the best personal injury lawyers in the country. Great experience. Really genuine people at Andreozzi and Associates.
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When you and your child are victims of a horrid crime it’s hard to understand why things are the way they are. Information and answers are what you want, but unfortunately the system doesn’t offer that. Nathaniel has fielded and patiently listened to a broken mother wanting nothing more than for someone to help her understand why she has no answers, and through these phone calls Nathaniel has been very informative, honest and upfront. I would recommend Nathaniel and this firm to anyone who is seeking answers, help and professionalism in a firm when going through such difficult times.
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