Reporting Child Abuse

University Resources

Penn State's Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence Hotline 1-800-550-7575 (TTY 866-714-7177) This hotline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, for all Penn State campuses. At University Park, the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services will work with the hotline to assist those who are in need of help. Since on-campus support services for abuse victims are limited at the campuses, this arrangement will make appropriate referrals to services available in their local communities. If it is not clear where to turn for assistance, any of the following offices will guide you to someone who can help.
  • Counseling and Psychological Services
  • Commonwealth Campuses' Sexual Assault Resources
  • Center for Women Students
  • University Police and Public Safety
  • Human Resources Strategic Partners
  • Office of Ethics & Compliance


Community Resources

ChildLine: 1-800-932-0313 ChildLine Website Centre County Women's Resource Center: 1-877-234-5050 CCWRC Website Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape: 1-888-772-7227 PCAR Website National Sexual Assault Hotline (RAINN): 1-800-656-4673 RAINN Website National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233 Website Look Out for Child Abuse A website collaborative of Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, Department of Humanities and the Center on Children and the Law of the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance: Website Prevent Child Abuse PA: Website Prevent Child Abuse America: Website

What Can You Do?

In addition to taking this training and reporting suspected child abuse, there are other things that you can do as an individual in your community to help fight child abuse.

Steps to take:

  • Talk about it: Parents, guardians, and caregivers can foster open communication with children, establish personal boundaries, help children identify adults they can trust, monitor children’s online usage, and be role models by promoting healthy relationships.
  • Engaging bystanders: Adults can talk about what they learn and instruct others how to intervene if they hear or see something that doesn’t seem appropriate. This method is commonly called the “bystander approach” and engages everyone in prevention efforts.
  • Work together: Adults can invite local rape crisis centers or child advocacy agencies to teach their churches or civic groups about prevention and encourage school districts to do the same.
  • Educate yourself and your community: Through education, people can more readily identify offender behaviors and be confident enough to report any suspicions they have to authorities. Below are resources for additional education or training opportunities.

Education and Resources:

  • Child Sexual Abuse Conference: Traumatic Impact, Prevention, and Intervention brings together nationally recognized experts. The conference raises awareness, educates, energizes, and empowers us to move forward to better protect our children. Access Archived Videos and Handouts from the 2012 Protect Children Conference.
  • Stewards of Children: is a prevention-training program that teaches adults how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse. The program is designed for organizations that serve youth and for individuals concerned about the safety of children. It is the only nationally distributed, evidence-based program proven to increase knowledge, improve attitudes, and change child protective behaviors.
  • HERO Project: Child sexual abuse is preventable and adults everywhere have the responsibility to report suspicions of child sexual abuse to the authorities. If you aren’t sure what to do and would like to talk to a specifically trained sexual assault counselor you can contact the HERO Hotline at 1-877-874-HERO (4376). The HERO Hotline was launched statewide by PCAR to encourage adults in our communities to intervene and report suspicions of child sexual abuse.
  • Visit the National Sexual Violence Resource Center and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape for more information. Additional information can be found with the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, which analyzes the relationship between categories of childhood trauma and health/behavioral outcomes later in life.

Child Abuse Training Acknowledgements

The Reporting Child Abuse training was developed by the Human Resources (HR) Workplace Learning and Performance (WLP) in collaboration with University and community partners. HR was tasked with developing a comprehensive learning strategy to train all Penn State employees as well as volunteers working with minors to recognize and report child abuse. The following partners were key in developing and delivering both the live and online training.

Employee Education Initiative Team

We would like to thank the Employee Education Initiative team, created as a result of the PSU/PCAR initiative, who led the development and implementation for the Penn State child abuse training.

The team included representatives from:

  • Penn State Extension - Christy Bartley
  • Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics - Charmelle Green
  • Penn State Human Resources (WLP) - Sue Cromwell, Trish Ripka
  • Penn State Office of the Physical Plant - Allen Bonsell
  • Penn State Public Media - Melanie Doebler, Lindsey Faussette, Cece Merkel
  • Penn State Student Affairs - Peggy Lorah
  • Penn State University Police - Rebecca Bywater
  • Penn State World Campus - Tim Balliett
  • Bucks County Network of Victim Assistance - Mandy Munday
  • Centre County Women’s Resource Center - Anne Ard
  • Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) - Joyce Lukima

Curriculum Development

After an extensive review of both online and face-to-face trainings, the Employee Education Initiative team selected the authorized adult training developed by the Bucks County Network of Victim Assistance, NOVA, as the underpinning for the Penn State child abuse training.

We would like to thank NOVA and PCAR for providing access to this training and for their valuable assistance in adapting the material to meet the needs of Penn State. The mission of the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape is to work to eliminate all forms of sexual violence and to advocate for the rights and needs of victims of sexual assault.


In the spring 2012, the first phase of the training rollout launched. This training was delivered live and was led by a dedicated group of trainers. We would like to thank these trainers for their efforts and for providing invaluable feedback that was used in developing the online training.

  • Allen Bonsell – Office of the Physical Plant – Penn State
  • Amber Pitten – Crime Victim Center, Lehigh County
  • Amy Murphy – Penn State Extension
  • Amy Smith – Women in Need
  • Betsy VanNoy – Centre County Women’s Resource Center
  • Bryan Dickinson – Penn State Extension
  • Bryan Garrido – Penn State Extension
  • Carol Schurman – Penn State Extension
  • Christy Bartley – Penn State Extension
  • Clarissa Geary – Sexual Assault Resource and Counseling Center, Schuylkill
  • Courtney Winkler – Crime Victim Center, Chester County
  • Dana Cuomo – Centre County Women’s Resource Center
  • Dwayne Hay – Penn State Extension
  • Elise Gurgevich – Penn State Extension
  • Ev Simmons – Penn State Extension
  • Flo Jenkins – Blackburn Center, Westmoreland County
  • Georgia Farrow – Penn State Extension
  • Heather Freeland – Penn State Extension
  • Jaime Stoeger – Crime Victim Center, Erie County
  • Jamie Jones – Centre County Women’s Resource Center
  • Janene DuBois – Victim Intervention Program – Wayne County
  • Jean Collins – Centre County Women’s Resource Center
  • Jennifer Fleck – Penn State Extension
  • Jessica Effrig – Centre County Women’s Resource Center/CAPS – Penn State
  • Joanna Sheppard – Penn State Extension
  • Jody Althouse – Centre County Women’s Resource Center
  • Joyce Lukima – PCAR
  • Karen Bracey – Penn State Extension
  • Karen Hack – Penn State Extension
  • Karen Lindsay – Victims Resource Center, Wilkes-Barre
  • Karla Vierthaler - PCAR
  • Kirsten Dubbs – Penn State Extension
  • Liz Zadnik - PCAR
  • Lexi Liverlsberger - PCAR
  • Mandy Mundy – NOVA Bucks County
  • Marlene Austin – Passages, Inc. Clearfield, Clarion, Jefferson County
  • Mary Faulkner – Centre County Women’s Resource Center
  • Mary Jo Kraft – Penn State Extension
  • Mary Lou Kiel - Penn State Extension
  • Melissa Walker – Office of the Physical Plant – Penn State
  • Michele Newhard – Auxiliary and Business Services – Penn State
  • Miesha Hill – YWCA – Victim Advocacy Center – York County
  • Mya Rushton – Penn State Extension
  • Natalie Aiello – Penn State Extension
  • Nichole Sloss – PCC Violence Free Network – Venango County
  • Patrick Rushton – Victims Resource Center – Luzerne, Carbon, and Wyoming County
  • Paula Lucas – Penn State Extension
  • Rhonda Mateer-Ross –Mount Nittany Medical Center
  • Sam Nicola – Penn State Extension
  • Stacie Hritz – Penn State Extension
  • Stephanie Flanagan – Center for Workplace Learning and Performance
  • Susan Cromwell – Center for Workplace Learning and Performance
  • Tim Balliett – World Campus – Penn State
  • Vicki Confer – Crime Victim Center of Crawford County
  • Vicky Herrmann – Crime Victim Center of Erie County


Penn State’s HR WLP staff partnered with Penn State Public Media and World Campus to develop the online training. We would like to thank this team for adapting the curriculum to the online environment, developing the course interface, and addressing technical requirements.

  • HR - Mary Beahm, Steve Selfe, David Feist, Travis Fisher, Mike Keller, David Stuckey, Kerrie Ferchalk, Jianhua Liu, Don Peters
  • Instructional Technology Services – Mark Miller, Chris Lucas, Ken Forstmeier, Rene Shuey, Gary Langsdale, Kathy Kimball
  • Penn State Public Media – Chris Divyak, Lindsey Faussette, Cece Merkel, Joe Meyers, Lindsey Whissel, Tom Wilson
  • World Campus – Malena Moore Gittler
  • Penn State University Relations – Lisa Powers
  • Risk Management – Gary Langsdale, Sarah Morrow
  • Penn State Prevention Research Center – Maureen Ittig

Production Credits

We would like to acknowledge the following experts who appeared in videos throughout the training. Thank you for sharing your expertise and for your dedication in working to address child abuse in our communities.

  • Dr. Eric J. Barron, President, Penn State University
  • Sandy Weaver, M.S., Youth Programs Compliance Specialist at Penn State’s Office of Ethics and Compliance
  • Lucy Johnston-Walsh, J.D., M.S.W., Director of Dickinson Law Children’s Advocacy Clinic.
  • Dr. Benjamin H. Levi, Director of Penn State Hershey Center for the Protection of Children and is a professor of pediatrics and humanities at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine.
  • Dr. Maria McColgan, Medical Director of the Child Protection Program at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, pediatric advisor for Prevent Child Abuse PA, and Assistant Professor at Drexel University College of Medicine.
  • Christina Phillips, Director of Training at the Pennsylvania Family Support Alliance.
  • Dr. Janet Rosenzweig, national consultant for Prevent Child Abuse America, and a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania.

Web/Presentation Design

We would like to thank Firebrand Tribe for developing templates for both the face-to-face trainings and website.


We would like to thank all of the reviewers and participants who provided valuable feedback about the content covered in the training and its organization.


Laws, Reports, and Training Material
  • Every Child Matters Education Fund (2010). We can do better: Child abuse and neglect deaths in America. Washington D.C.
  • Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital, Penn State College of Medicine Department of Humanities, Penn State Dickinson School of Law, Center on Children and the Law. Look out for child abuse. CY-47 Online.
  • Penn State University, Policy AD72 - Reporting suspected child abuse.
  • Penn State University, Policy AD39 - Minors involved in University-sponsored programs or programs held at the university and/or housed in University facilities.
  • Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) (2011). authorized adult training: Knowing your role in the protection of our children.
  • Pennsylvania Statutes: 23 Pa. C.S. § 6311-6319, Provisions and responsibilities for reporting child abuse.
  • Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. Harrisburg, PA.
  • Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA), authorized adult minimal facts interview guidelines.
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Bureau (2010). Child maltreatment 2010. Washington, DC.

Media Sources Used for Quotes

  • Oprah, The Grooming Process, Oprah Show, 2/8/2010