State Laws. B. Child Abuse Reporting Requirements


1. Inclusion of statutory rape in reporting requirements

The Arkansas Code requires mandatory reporters to report all cases of suspected child maltreatment.[96] Sexual abuse—included in the definition of child maltreatment—includes actual or attempted sexual intercourse, deviate sexual activity, or sexual contact with a child less than 16 years of age by someone at least 18 years of age and not that person’s spouse. The definition of sexual abuse does not include any provisions that indicate that it applies only to parents, guardians, or custodians of the child in question.[97]

2. Mandatory reporters

Mandatory reporters include: child care workers; physical and mental health providers; domestic abuse advocates and volunteers; members of the clergy;[98] law enforcement officials; prosecutors; school employees; social workers; and employees of the Department of Human Services.[99]

3. Who to report to

Mandated reporters are required to notify the Department of Human Services through its 24-hour child abuse hotline if they have reasonable cause to suspect a case of child maltreatment.[100]

4. State response

The Department of Human Services is responsible for investigating all reports of child maltreatment within 72 hours of receiving them from the child abuse hotline. The Department of Human Services is required to inform the prosecutor’s office of the report unless the office has given the department written notification stating that it does not require such notice. The Department of Human Services must complete a written determination based on its investigation within 30 days of receiving the report.[101] The department is required to provide a copy of this report to the appropriate law enforcement officials and the prosecutor’s office.[102]