Child Abuse Crimes


  • Approximately 1 in 4 girls are sexually abused by the time they reach the age of 18. For boys, the rate is about 1 in 6.
  • Child abusers are usually family members, friends or babysitters. Cases of abuse by a stranger are very rare.
  • The highest victimization rate was for children aged 0-3.
  • TO REPORT A CASE OF SUSPECTED CHILD ABUSE CALL 1-800-932-0313  To learn more about ChildLine click here.

The District Attorney's office is deeply committed to keeping our kids safe. We work closely with local, state and federal law enforcement officials to ensure that children in Dauphin County are protected against all types of criminal activity - whether online, in school or at home.

The District Attorney's Office has multi-media based resources to help inform both children and adults about safety issues that impact them and the criminal justice system. They are generally presented by experienced Assistant District Attorneys and County Detectives throughout the year to various community groups, at no cost, upon request.

What is Child Abuse?

There are primarily three types of child abuse; sexual, physical and neglect:

Sexual Abuse: Sexual abuse occurs when predators use children for sexual gratification or expose them to sexual activities. Sexual abuse includes oral sex and vaginal or anal penetration, but it also includes kissing or fondling or any inappropriate touching, or even exposure to sexual activities or pornography.

  • Child pornography is a form of sexual abuse. Child Pornography is any material depicting a child under the age of 18 years engaging in a prohibited sexual act or in the simulation of a prohibited sexual act. Sexual exploitation of a child involves the creation, dissemination or possession of child pornography. Sexual exploitation includes photographing, videotaping, depicting on a computer or filming child pornography. Dissemination or possession of child pornographic material includes any book, magazine, pamphlet, slide, photograph, film, videotape, computer depiction or other material.
  • Internet Crimes Against Children:  "Allowing kids to go online without supervision or ground rules is like allowing them to explore a major metropolitan area by themselves.  The Internet offers an enormous array of entertainment and educational resources but also presents potential risks. Kids need help navigating this world."   Keeping Kids Safer on the Internet, National Center For Missing and Exploited Children.  The internet is a valuable tool for children.  It can also be dangerous.  Children must be prepared and taught how to respond when they encounter various types of dangerous online situations.  From 'cyberbullying' to 'online predators' to posting personal information about themselves online, children need ground rules.  To learn more about this topic visit the National Center For Missing and Exploited Children   

Physical Abuse:  Physical abuse includes deliberate acts of violence that injure or even kill children. Indicators of physical abuse include unexplained bruises, broken bones, or burn marks on a child.

  • Shaken Baby Syndrome is a type of physical abuse.  Shaken Baby Syndrone (SBS) is often also referred to as Abusive Head Trauma (AHT).  Abusive Head Trauma can be caused by direct blows to the head, dropping or throwing a child, or shaking a child. Shaken Baby Syndrome is caused by the violent shaking of an infant or young child resulting in possible brain damage, paralysis, seizures, loss of hearing, learning disabilities or death.  Head trauma is the leading cause of death in child abuse cases in the United States.

Neglect:  Neglect cases include physical neglect such as a parent's failure to provide adequate food, clothing or shelter, and emotional neglect where a parent fails to meet a child's basic needs for affection and comfort. Neglect could also reflect a parent's failure to provide medical treatment to a child.

Who investigates child abuse allegations?

In Dauphin County, law enforcement officers and caseworkers from Children & Youth Services (CYS) jointly investigate reported allegations of child abuse.  This team approach is called a Multi-disciplinary Investigative Team (MDIT) approach to investigating child abuse allegations.  Police officers and CYS caseworkers share information and work together during the investigation.  The MDIT also includes members of the District Attorney's Office, Dauphin County Victim Witness Assistance Program, YWCA Rape Crisis and mental health professionals.  Various members of the MDIT come together on each case in order for a comprehensive investigation to be completed with as little trauma to the child as possible.  Most children are interviewed by specially trained child interview specialist at the PinnacleHealth Children's Resource Center.  The interviews are observed via closed circuit by the investigating police officer and CYS caseworker.  In addition to being interviewed the children can also receive a medical exam at the Children's Resource Center.