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Press Release

AG Shapiro: Safe2Say Nears 50k Tips, Shows Increased Need in Second Annual Report

August 3, 2020 | Topic: Criminal

HARRISBURG—Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced that the Office has issued the second annual Safe2Say report. The report tracks data received during the 2019-2020 school year, starting July 1, 2019 and ending June 30, 2020.

“Safe2Say Something PA empowers students, teachers, and administrators to anonymously report potentially unsafe activities in schools,” Attorney General Shapiro said. “While the COVID-19 pandemic has kept students from vital parts of the child safety net, young people across Pennsylvania have continued to rely on Safe2Say to report life-saving tips.

“None of this would have been possible without the students who have trusted us and participated, the analysts in the crisis management center who work 24-7 to handle tips and keep people safe, and nearly every school in Pennsylvania that has worked with us to get the word out about a service that is supporting students during this critical time and strengthening public safety.”

Attorney General Shapiro says that the highest number of tips continue to be about mental health, rather than potential school violence.

“When I visited Pennsylvania schools, kids told me over and over that they were most concerned about their peers’ mental health—more than any of the other stresses they had to worry about every day.”

According to the annual report, of the 23, 745 tips received during the 2019-2020 school year, the top three categories of tips were:

  • Bullying / Cyber Bullying, 3608 tips;
  • Suicide / Suicide Ideation, 2576 tips;
  • Cutting / Self-Harm, 2139 tips.

While Pennsylvania students were staying at home and attending classes online, Safe2Say saw an increase in Life Safety Tips such as suicide and self-harm. From July 2019 until March, 13 2020, 17% of tips received were designated as Life Safety matters, but starting in March, 37% of tips received were in this category.

The results of the 2019-2020 report conclude that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of increased public safety and life-saving resources for kids. In addition to last year’s recommendation for more mental health services in Pennsylvania schools, the Safe2Say staff recommends funding for innovative child safety net programs, including child protection and mental health services available at home, as part of a full response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is encouraging to see that our students and communities continue to use Safe2Say Something as a means to help maintain safety in our schools,” said Pennsylvania State Senator Vince Hughes. “This program and the data it provides are critical to understanding where we must devote our resources and support in the legislature, especially as we focus on addressing the trauma and the mental health needs of our children.”

“The Safe2Say Something program continues to be an invaluable tool for students to confidentially share information on situations that could potentially cause harm to themselves or others,” said Pennsylvania State Senator Pat Browne. “The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated that the mental health of our students needs to be one of our overriding priorities. The 2019-2020 annual report shows that while schools have faced unprecedented disruptions caused by the pandemic, Safe2Say continues to assist students and young adults who find themselves in crisis. I applaud the Attorney General’s office for their commitment to this program and urge students to utilize Safe2Say if they find themselves in need of help.”

“This pandemic has made clear that a stronger safety net needs to be in place to protect kids at any time, not just in schools,” concluded Attorney General Shapiro. “We have to try innovative new ways to reach kids in need, including making child protective and mental health services available at home.”

Students and community members can submit tips via PA’s website, www.Safe2Saypa.org; through the Safe2Say Something  app; or via telephone at 844-Safe2Say (844-723-2729).

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