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Child Abuse Reporting Laws for Arkansas

Last Reviewed: June 2, 2021

State and Statute: Arkansas, Code §§ 12-18-101 et seq.

What Is Reportable "Abuse": Physical, sexual, or mental abuse, neglect, sexual exploitation, or abandonment. [12-18-103(7)]

Mandatory Reporters: Includes "any clergy member, which includes a minister, priest, rabbi, accredited Christian Science practitioner, or other similar functionary of a religious organization, or an individual reasonably believed to be so by the person consulting him or her, except to the extent that the clergy member:

(A) Has acquired knowledge of suspected maltreatment through communications required to be kept confidential pursuant to the religious discipline of the relevant denomination or faith; or (B) Received the knowledge of the suspected child maltreatment from the alleged offender in the context of a statement of admission." Also includes any teacher, school official, public or private school counselor, nonprofit employee (except for hospital), social worker, family service worker, day care center worker, or any other child or foster care worker, or mental health professional, who has reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been subjected to child maltreatment. [12-18-402(29)(A)(B)]

How and Where to Report: Child Abuse Hotline (1-800-482-5964), or fax or online submission for nonemergency situations (https://ar.mandatedreporter.org/UserAuth/Login!loginPage.action;jsessionid=3A5FD60156ADD10CA235365D4E41BEC7). [12-18-402]

Timeline to Report: Immediately. [12-18-102] and [12-18-402]

Clergy Privilege: "A privilege or contract shall not prevent a person from reporting child maltreatment when he or she is a mandated reporter and required to report under this section." [12-18-402(c)(1)]

"No privilege, except that between a lawyer and client or between a minister, including a Christian Science practitioner, and a person confessing to or being consulted by the minister shall prevent anyone from testifying concerning child maltreatment." [12-18-803(b)]

Penalty for Knowingly Failing to Report: Knowing failure to report is Class A misdemeanor [12-18-201]. Reckless failure to report is Class C misdemeanor [12-18-202]

Civil Liability for Failure to Report Recognized? Yes. "A person required by this chapter to make a report of child maltreatment or suspected child maltreatment to the Child Abuse Hotline who purposely fails to do so is civilly liable for damages proximately caused by that failure." [12-18-206]

Immunity for Inaccurate Report: "A person or agency required by this chapter to report suspected child maltreatment who acts in good faith in making notification … is immune to suit and to civil and criminal liability." [12-18-107]

Disclosure of Mandatory Reporter’s Identity: General confidentiality. [12-18-104] Confidential information is not to be disclosed publicly by department in a manner that identifies individual(s) or facility(ies). [9-4-111] A mandated reporter may make an anonymous report through the state's toll-free hotline. [12-18-302(d)] Court may order release of identifiable information when there is suspicion a false report was made. [12-18-502]

Additional Information for Arkansas:
  • 24-hour, toll-free hotline: 1-800-482-5964

All information provided here was most recently verified in June of 2021.

Related Topics:
  • November 30, 2017
  • Last Reviewed: June 2, 2021

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