As members of the Villanova community, we want to make you aware of some important changes to Pennsylvania’s child abuse reporting laws that become effective on December 31, 2014, and updates that have been made to Villanova’s Child Abuse Reporting Policy in light of these changes.
The new PA laws provide that all full-time, part-time and temporary faculty and staff who come into direct contact with a child as part of their employment with Villanova are obligated to report child abuse they see, know of, or suspect.
In addition, Villanova students and volunteers who accept responsibility for a child as an integral part of a program, activity or service sponsored by the University, also have the obligation to report child abuse they see, know of, or suspect. This obligation extends to all students and volunteers participating in service programs, youth and athletic camps, outreach and enrichment programs, or other programs associated with Villanova that involve contact with children.
A child is any individual under 18 years of age, which may include certain Villanova students. The new PA laws require that you report suspected child abuse immediately to the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (“DHS”) by contacting the toll-free ChildLine at (800) 932-0313. Within 48 hours of your verbal report, you must follow up with a written report to DHS or the county agency assigned to the case. The report is based on information that you know at the time you file the report; you are not expected to investigate or gather information you do not already know. Any uncertainty about reporting suspected child abuse should err in favor of making a report.
Once you make a report to DHS, you must also report the suspected child abuse to Villanova’s Director of Public Safety and provide him with a copy of the submitted report. If for some reason you are unable or prefer not to contact the Director of Public Safety, you must contact the Vice President for Administration and Finance and provide him with a copy of the submitted DHS report. These designated Villanova officials will facilitate the University’s cooperation with the investigation of the report and maintain records of all reports.
For additional information regarding what is meant by “child abuse” and the obligation to report child abuse, as well as a sample form that can be used to file a report, see the University’s Child Abuse Reporting Policy.
Please note that according to the Villanova University Child Abuse Reporting Policy, you are encouraged, but not required, to report the information to your immediate supervisor. For Athletics staff, you are also encouraged to report the information to the Director of Athletics.
The new PA laws prohibit retaliation against any person who makes a good faith report of child abuse. The laws also impose criminal penalties for a willful failure to comply with the mandated reporting requirements.
The University also has a Minors on Campus Committee comprised of representatives from a number of areas involved in youth programs. The Committee members can assist you with any questions you may have. Committee members and their contact information are available at the University Compliance website.