If you suspect a child is being abused and/or neglected, please call the Arkansas Child Abuse Hotline immediately.
After making a hotline report, remember to dual report and call local law enforcement.
What information do I need to make a report?
It’s important to provide as much information as possible. It’s okay to not have everything. It’s not your job to investigate or gather those missing details. Allow the professionals involved to fill in those gaps. If available, you will need to know:
- Alleged victim’s name, age/birthday, address, school, contact information
- Alleged offender’s name, age/birthday, address, contact information
- Any information regarding other victims, siblings, and the person responsible for care for that alleged victim
- Allegations of abuse – remember, there is something you’ve observed, whether seen or heard, that has caused this suspicion of abuse
- Where the abuse occurred
- When the abuse occurred
It’s okay to not have all of this information. There is no need to probe or question the child futher in order to receive more details about the alleged abuse. This can harm the investigation and prosecution, as well as cause more trauma for the child. Remember, after you make a hotline report, please notify local law enforcement!
What do I say to the child?
The most important thing you can do is believe the child. Be mindful of your reaction and body language. We never want to make a child feel as though they are in trouble or they are at fault. Thank the child. Tell them they did the right thing by coming to you. Don’t make promises. There are many circumstances that will be outside of our control. Don’t blame anyone involved, especially the child.
Need more information on mandated reporting?
There are different types of child abuse. Please remember that none of these signs are diagnostic of child abuse, but simply red flags of concern. If you suspect a child is being abused, please call the Arkansas Child Abuse Hotline 1-844-SAVE-A-CHILD.
Any non-accidental injury to a minor, giving or allowing controlled substances to a minor, and/or allowing a perpetrator to have access to the child.
- Unexplained marks, bruises, cuts, fractures, dislocations on the body
- Bruises/welts in various stages of healing, in clusters or patterns in the shape of an object
- Pattern burns, cigarette burns, iron burns, or scald immersion burns
- Location of wounds
- Injury is not consistent with explanation from caregiver, sibling, and/or child
- Extreme vigilance or watchfulness
- Bullying smaller children
- Poor social interactions
- Extreme fear of parents/caregivers
- Harming animals
- Frequent absences in school, counseling, or other appointments
- Withdrawn or emotionless
- Aggressive, disruptive, destructive
Any contact or interaction with a minor being used for sexual stimulation of the perpetrator or any other person that includes sexual penetration, sexual molestation, and/or sexual exploitation
- Discharge, recurring pain, or itching in genital or anal areas
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Frequent bladder or urinary tract infections
- Genital injury
- Wearing torn, stained, or bloody underwear
- Difficulty walking or sitting
- Unusual and offensive odors
- Sexual knowledge beyond what is age appropriate – “acting out”
- Unexplained regression or fear
- Difficulty sleeping or relaxing
- When a child uses force, bribery, or threats on others
- Child has a secret they cannot tell
- Appearing to be uncomfortable or fearful around “trusted” persons
- Fear of restrooms, showers, or baths
- Separation anxiety
Occurs when a parent or caretaker fails to provide for a child’s physical, medical, and educational needs such as inadequate supervision, abandonment, medical care/attention, food, shelter, and/or clothing.
- Underweight, poor growth, failure to thrive
- Poor hygiene
- Often hungry in the morning
- Evidence of no or poor supervision
- Dressed inappropriately for the weather
- Begs, hoards, or steals food
- Arrives early to class and the last to leave
- Erratic attendance at school
- Noticeable developmental delays
Witness to Domestic Violence
When a minor sees or hears any person commit a felony offense involving homicide, domestic battery, or assault on a family member or household member.
- Inability to concentrate
- Signs of anxiety, short attention span, withdrawal
- Sleep disturbances
- Sadness, depression, anger, fearful
- Violent outbursts
- Developmental delays in speech, motor, or cognitive skills
Any minor induced into commercial sex—regardless of whether or not the trafficker used force, fraud, or coercion.
- Tattoo branding to show other traffickers ownership
- Unexplained physical injuries
- Signs of drug addiction
- Sudden change in attire and/or material possessions
- Frequent absences at school
- Lack of control over personal schedule
- Mentions having an “older boyfriend”
- Hyperarousal (chronic state of fight or flight)
- Symptoms of inattention, forgetfulness, regressive behavior, clinging behavior, irritability, frequent crying, anger