Reporting Suspected Child Abuse/Neglect

Reports of child maltreatment can be reported by anyone, 24-hours a day, seven days a week, through a toll-free phone number managed by the Arkansas State Police.

(800)-482-5964 or (844) SAVEACHILD   Callers should be prepared to provide the child’s name, location/address of the child, brief summary of the allegation/concern for abuse.

Additional information about the response to reports of suspected child abuse/neglect in AR can be found on the website for the Division and Family Services of the AR Department of Human Services.

General information about abuse:

Using the standardized definition by the Centers for Disease Control, child abuse can be divided into acts of “commission” and acts of “omission.”

Acts of Commission (Child Abuse)

Overt actions or words that cause harm, potential harm, or threat of harm

Acts of commission are deliberate and intentional; however, harm to a child might not be the intended consequence. Intention only applies to caregiver acts—not the consequences of those acts. For example, a caregiver might intend to hit a child as punishment (i.e., hitting the child is not accidental or unintentional), but not intend to cause the child to have a concussion. The following types of maltreatment involve acts of commission:

  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Psychological abuse

Acts of Omission (Child Neglect)

Failure to provide needs or to protect from harm or potential harm

Acts of omission are the failure to provide for a child’s basic physical, emotional, or educational needs or to protect a child from harm or potential harm. Like acts of commission, harm to a child might not be the intended consequence. The following types of maltreatment involve acts of omission:

  • Physical neglect
  • Emotional neglect
  • Medical and dental neglect
  • Educational neglect
  • Inadequate supervision
  • Exposure to violent environments

A combination of individual, relational, community, and societal factors contribute to the risk of child abuse and neglect. Although children are not responsible for the harm inflicted upon them, certain characteristics have been found to increase their risk of being maltreated. Risk factors are those characteristics associated with child abuse and neglect—they may or may not be direct causes.

Risk Factors for Victimization

Individual Risk Factors

  • Children younger than 4 years of age
  • Special needs that may increase caregiver burden (e.g., disabilities, mental health issues, and chronic physical illnesses)

Risk Factors for Perpetration

Individual Risk Factors

  • Parents’ lack of understanding of children’s needs, child development and parenting skills
  • Parents’ history of child maltreatment in family of origin
  • Substance abuse and/or mental health issues including depression in the family
  • Parental characteristics such as young age, low education, single parenthood, large number of dependent children, and low income
  • Non-biological, transient caregivers in the home (e.g., partner of the parent)
  • Inter-personal/domestic violence in the home

Family Risk Factors

  • Social isolation
  • Family disorganization, dissolution, and violence, including intimate partner violence
  • Parenting stress, poor parent-child relationships, and negative interactions

Community Risk Factors

  • Community violence
  • Concentrated neighborhood disadvantage (e.g., high poverty and residential instability, high unemployment rates, and high density of alcohol outlets), and poor social connections.

Protective Factors for Child Maltreatment

Protective factors buffer children from being abused or neglected. These factors exist at various levels. Protective factors have not been studied as extensively or rigorously as risk factors. However, identifying and understanding protective factors are equally as important as researching risk factors.

Family Protective Factors

  • Supportive family environment and social networks
  • Nurturing parenting skills
  • Stable family relationships
  • Household rules and child monitoring
  • Parental employment
  • Adequate housing
  • Access to health care and social services
  • Caring adults outside the family who can serve as role models or mentors

Community Protective Factors

  • Communities that support parents and take responsibility for preventing abuse


Associated Links:

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) Study:

Toxic Stress: Center on Developing Child:

Prevention Information for Abusive Head Trauma:

Child Sexual Abuse: National Child Traumatic Stress Network

–Fact Sheet

–Disclosures by children

Domestic Violence Response