Definitions of Child Abuse and Neglect Arkansas

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Statute: 12-12-503
Standard
Intentionally

Knowingly
Negligently and without cause

Exemption
Corporal punishment
Poverty

Categories of Maltreatment Defined in Statute

Physical abuse

Neglect

Sexual abuse

Sexual exploitation

Emotional/mental injury

Abandonment

Categories of Maltreatment Not Defined in Statute

DEFINITIONS

Ark. Code 12-12-503 (WESTLAW through Ark. 2003 Legis. Serv., Acts 175 & 758)


'Child maltreatment' means abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, sexual exploitation, or abandonment.

'Abuse' means any of the following acts or omissions by a parent, guardian, custodian, foster parent, person 18 years of age of older living in the home with a child whether related or unrelated to the child, or any person who is entrusted with the juvenile's care, but excluding the spouse of a minor:

Extreme or repeated cruelty to a juvenile;
Engaging in conduct creating a realistic and serious threat of death, permanent or temporary disfigurement, or impairment of any bodily organ;

Injury to a juvenile's intellectual, emotional, or psychological developed as evidenced by observable and substantial impairment of the juvenile's ability to function within the juvenile's normal range of performance and behavior;

Any injury which is at variance with the history given;

Any nonaccidental physical injury;
Any of the following intentional or knowing acts, with physical injury and without justifiable cause: Throwing, kicking, burning, biting, or cutting the child; striking a child with a closed fist; shaking a child; or striking a child on the face.

Any of the following intentional or knowing acts, with or without physical injury: Striking a child age 6 or younger on the face; striking a child age 3 or younger; or interfering with a child's breathing.

'Sexual abuse' means:

By a person 10 years of age or older to a person younger than 18 years of age: Sexual intercourse, deviate sexual activity, or sexual contact by forcible compulsion; attempted sexual intercourse, deviate sexual activity, or sexual contact; indecent exposure; or forcing, permitting or encouraging the watching of pornography or live sexual activity;
Between a person 18 years of age or older and a person not his spouse who is younger than 16 years of age, or between a person younger than 18 years of age and a sibling or caretaker, sexual intercourse, deviate sexual activity, or sexual contact or solicitation; or attempted sexual intercourse, deviate sexual activity, or sexual contact.

'Neglect' means those acts or omissions of a parent, guardian, custodian, foster parent, or any person who is entrusted with the juvenile's caree, which constitute:

Failure or refusal to prevent the abuse of the juvenile when such person knows or has reasonable cause to know the juvenile is or has been abused;
Failure or refusal to provide necessary food, clothing, shelter, and education required by law, excluding the failure to follow an individualized educational program, or medical treatment necessary for the juvenile's well-being, except when the failure or refusal is caused primarily by the financial inability of the person legally responsible and no services for relief have been offered or rejected;

Failure to take reasonable action to protect the juvenile from abandonment, abuse, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, neglect, or parental unfitness where the existence of such condition was known or should have been known;

Failure or irremediable inability to provide for the essential and necessary physical, mental, or emotional needs of the juvenile;

Failure to provide for the juvenile's care and maintenance, proper or necessary support, or medical, surgical, or other necessary care;

Failure, although able, to assume responsibility for the care and custody of the juvenile or participate in a plan to assume such responsibility; or

Failure to appropriately supervise the juvenile which results in the juvenile's being left alone at an inappropriate age or in inappropriate circumstances which put the juvenile in danger.

'Sexual exploitation' means allowing, permitting, or encouraging participation or depiction of the juvenile in prostitution, obscene photographing, filming, or obscenely depicting a juvenile for any use or purpose.

'Abandonment' means:

Failure of the parent to provide reasonable support and to maintain regular contact with the juvenile through statement or contact, when the failure is accompanied by an intention on the part of the parent to permit the condition to continue for an indefinite period in the future;

Failure to support or maintain regular contact with the juvenile without just cause; or
An articulated intent to forego parental responsibility.

'Severe maltreatment' means sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, acts or omissions which may or do result in death, abuse involving the use of a deadly weapon as defined by law, bone fracture, internal injuries, burns, immersions, suffocation, abandonment, medical diagnosis of failure to thrive, or causing a substantial and observable change in the behavior or demeanor of the child.

'Near fatality' means an act that, as certified by a physician, places the child in serious or critical condition.

'Serious bodily injury' means bodily injury, which involves substantial risk of death, extreme physical pain, protracted and obvious disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of a bodily member, organ, or mental faculty.

EXCEPTIONS

Ark. Code 12-12-503(1)(B), (2)(C), (12)(B) (WESTLAW through Ark. 2003 Legis. Serv., Act 758)

'Abandonment' does not include acts or omissions of a parent toward a married minor.

'Abuse' shall not include physical discipline of a child when it is reasonable and moderate and is inflicted by a parent or guardian for purposes of restraining or correcting the child. Abuse shall not include when a child suffers transient pain or minor temporary marks as the result of appropriate restraint, if:

The person exercising the restraint is an employee of an agency licensed or exempted from licensure under the Child Welfare Agency Licensing Act;

The agency has policy and procedures regarding restraints;

No other alternative exists to control the child except for a restraint;

The child is in danger or hurting himself or herself or others;

The person exercising the restraint has been trained in properly restraining children, deescalation, and conflict resolution techniques; and

The restraint is for a reasonable period of time.

Reasonable and moderate physical discipline inflicted by a parent or guardian shall not include any act that is likely to cause, and which does cause injury more serious than transient pain or minor temporary marks.

The age, size, and condition of the child, and the location of the injury and the frequency or recurrence of injuries shall be considered when determining whether the physical discipline is reasonable or moderate.

Failure or refusal to provide necessary food, clothing, shelter, and education required by law, or medical treatment necessary for the juvenile's well-being, is not neglect when the failure or refusal is caused primarily by the financial inability of the person legally responsible and no services for relief have been offered or rejected.
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