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Arkansas Child Abuse Laws

Child abuse is a serious crime that includes physical, emotional, and sexual abuse as well as exploitation and neglect. From a criminal law standpoint, child abuse violations are defined as an act (or failure to act) that results in serious harm to a child's health and welfare (or the risk thereof), is committed against a child (under the age of 18), and is committed by a parent or caregiver who is responsible for that child's welfare. Furthermore, most states require adults with access to children (such as teachers or physicians) to report suspected child abuse to the authorities, referred to as "mandatory reporters."

Arkansas Child Abuse Laws at a Glance

The definition of child abuse under Arkansas law also specifically includes the striking of a child in the face, striking with a closed fist, or shaking a child. According to statute, "any person" with knowledge of abuse is a mandatory reporter. Failure to report known cases of child abuse, or false reporting, may be charged as a Class C misdemeanor.

Additional details about child abuse laws in Arkansas, including a list of mandatory reporters, can be found in the following chart. See FindLaw's Child Abuse section to learn more.

Code Section 12-18-101, et seq.
What Constitutes Abuse Specific incidents listed in 12-12-503 include abandonment, extreme and repeated cruelty; intentional, negligent, nonjustifiable conduct constituting physical, psychological, or sexual abuse; conduct creating threat of death or permanent impairment; intentionally and without justification disciplining a child by striking on the face or with a closed fist or shaking a child
Mandatory Reporting Required By Any person; physician, dentist, nurse medical personnel, teacher, school counselor, social or family worker, day care center worker, foster care worker, mental health professional, peace officer, law enforcement official, prosecuting attorney or judge, domestic abuse advocate, clergyman
Basis of Report of Abuse/neglect Reasonable cause to suspect maltreatment or observance of conditions or circumstances which would reasonably result in maltreatment
To Whom Reported Department of Human Services
Penalty for Failure to Report or False Reporting Class C misdemeanor; willful failure to report: civilly liable for all damages proximately caused by that failure. Class A misdemeanor: False notification

Note: State laws are always subject to change, typically through the enactment of new legislation or decisions from higher courts. Be sure to contact an Arkansas criminal defense attorney or family law attorney, or conduct your own legal research, to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Arkansas Child Abuse Laws: Related Resources

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