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Child Abuse Hotline Calls Up Since Sandusky Case

By Susan K. Livio/Statehouse Bureau 

TRENTON — New Jersey’s child abuse hotline has been flooded with phone calls since the Penn State sexual abuse scandal shocked the nation late last year, according to Children and Families Commissioner Allison Blake.

The number of calls soared to as many as 750 a day in November, when a Pennsylvania grand jury indicted former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, said Kristine Brown, spokeswoman for the state Department of Children and Families. It rarely topped 400 a day in the two months before the scandal broke out, she added.

As of last month, calls were in the 600 to 700 a-day range. And from November to last month, the hotline answered a total of 80,543 calls — 6,815 more than the previous year.

“When you look back on major cases like that that made the news, you will find they increase awareness,” said Cecilia Zalkin, executive director of Advocates for Children of New Jersey. “A situation (where) people might have had concerns about a neighbor or a family member, it may encourage them to stop and think and take action.”

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