National Child Abuse Hotline
Arkansas Child Abuse Hotline
National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Cyber Tip Line
National Human Trafficking Resource Center
According to Arkansas Law:
Physical abuse is the non-accidental physical injury or an injury at variance with the history given. This includes throwing, kicking, burning, biting, shooting or cutting a child, striking a child with a closed fist, shaking a child, or striking a child in the face. Even if there is no injury, physical abuse includes:
- Striking a child age six or younger in the face
- Shaking a child age 3 or younger
- Interfering with a child’s breathing. Other indicators are patterned injuries, welts or bruises from instruments used to hit a child (like belts, cords, hangers, etc.).
Sexual Abuse: state law explains sexual abuse includes sexual acts committed on a child (under age 10 children may not consent) by another including sexual intercourse; sexual contact or penetration of anus, vagina, or mouth by the penis of another or penetration, however slight, of the labia majora or anus by any body member or foreign instrument manipulated by the perpetrator; indecent exposure; or, forcing, permitting or encouraging the watching of pornography or live sexual activity. If the perpetrator is over 17 and the child/teen is less than 16 and not their spouse, sexual activity constitutes sexual abuse. If the person is less than 18 but is acting as a caretaker or is a sibling, sexual activity is sexual abuse.
Medical neglect is the failure by parents or caregivers to provide medical or mental treatment for a health problem or condition which, if untreated, could become severe enough to be life threatening or which might lead to serious or long term harm to the child. This includes failure by parents or caregivers to follow through on a prescribed treatment plan for a condition which could become serious enough to constitute serious or long term harm if the plan is not followed. Factors in determining medical neglect can vary depending on the age of the child, the seriousness of the consequences of the neglect, probable outcome without treatment, and whether the child is disabled.
Of course, all children get scratches, bruises, and cuts from time to time. That’s the nature of childhood – a time that’s full of tumbling, climbing, and adventures. That makes it difficult to tell what’s normal and what may be a sign of abuse. Unfortunately, there’s no one telltale sign that a child is being abused. Bruises, black eyes, and broken bones may be clues, but other signs are less obvious. Children who have been abused may behave differently. They may have nightmares or trouble sleeping. Their school performance may suddenly decline. In addition, they may:
- have a poor self-image
- be unable to love or trust others
- be aggressive or disruptive (become bullies)
- display intense anger or rage
- act out in the classroom
- act out sexually
- be self-destructive, self-abusive, or suicidal
- feel sad, passive, withdrawn, or depressed
- have difficulty forming new relationships
- use drugs or alcohol
- avoid going home after school
Signs of Physical Abuse
- Any injury (bruise, burn, fracture, abdominal or head injury) that cannot be explained
Signs of Sexual Abuse
- Fearful behavior (nightmares, depression, unusual fears, attempts to run away)
- Abdominal pain, bed-wetting, urinary tract infection, genital pain or bleeding, sexually transmitted disease
- Extreme sexual behavior that seems inappropriate for the child’s age
Signs of Emotional Abuse
- Sudden change in self-confidence
- Headaches or stomach aches with no medical cause
- Abnormal fears, increased nightmares
- Attempts to run away
Signs of Emotional Neglect
- Failure to gain weight (especially in infants)
- Desperate for affection
- Voracious appetite and hording of food
- Show a fear of certain adults
Children who witness abuse but are not victims themselves may also display some or all of the above signs. It’s important to note that these symptoms are all nonspecific, meaning they could result from a number of causes – not just child abuse. Children who are under stress from a variety of sources – including parental separation, divorce, and visitation and custody arrangements – may show similar symptoms.
Those who abuse children may show certain nonspecific signs as well. For example, parents who abuse their children may avoid other parents in the neighborhood, may not participate in school activities, and may be uncomfortable talking about their children’s injuries or behavioral problems.