Â This is the second articleÂ in our spotlight on abuse series. Child abuse is harm to, or neglect of, a child by another person, whether adult or child. Child abuse happens in all cultural, ethnic, and income groups. Child abuse can be physical, emotional – verbal, sexual or through neglect. Abuse may cause serious injury to the child and may even result in death.
Signs of possible physical abuse include:
- Unexplained or repeated injuries such as welts, bruises, or burns.
- Injuries that are in the shape of an object (belt buckle, electric cord, etc.)
- Injuries not likely to happen given the age or ability of the child. For example, broken bones in a child too young to walk or climb.
- Disagreement between the child’s and the parent’s explanation of the injury.
- Unreasonable explanation of the injury.
- Obvious neglect of the child (dirty, undernourished, inappropriate clothes for the weather, lack of medical or dental care).
- Fearful behavior.
What is abuse?
Abuse can be physical or sexual. It includes non-accidental physical injury, shaking a baby, tying a child up, and giving or exposing a child to alcohol or other drugs. Reasonable and moderate discipline (such as spanking) is generally not considered abuse as long as it does not cause injury more serious than transient pain or minor temporary marks and is administered by a parent or guardian. Arkansas code 12-12-503
What is neglect?
Neglect is failing to provide for appropriate food, shelter, clothing, and medical care for a child. It is also failing to provide an education for a child: home schooling is NOT considered educational neglect. Neglect also includes failing to prevent abuse of a child. Leaving a child in a situation that puts the juvenile at risk of harm (such as leaving a young child alone at home or in a vehicle) is also considered neglect. Arkansas code 12-12-503
Reporting Suspected Abuse or Neglect – By Phone
Call the Arkansas Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-482-5964
If it is an EMERGENCY, you are advised to call your local law enforcement agency.