In 2009, of the 41,928 total referrals for child abuse and neglect, 30,381 of reports were referred for investigation and 7,428 children were substantiated or indicated as abused or neglected in Arkansas, an 11.4 percent increase from 2006.
These children represented various forms of maltreatment — 66 percent were neglected; 19 percent were physically abused; and 23 percent were sexually abused, according to the Child Welfare League of America (CWLA).
"The Child Abuse Hotline does work," Gary Glisson, the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children Division/Child Abuse Hotline administrator, said Thursday at the Stuttgart Kiwanis Club meeting.
Glisson said the calls are taken at the call center, which has a heavy call volume on Mondays and Fridays.
"Everything that comes into the Child Abuse Hotline is handled," Glisson said. "The calls are investigated."
Arkansas state law mandates reporters on child abuse, including mental health professionals, teachers, physicians, prosecuting attorneys, juvenile intake or probation officers, school counselors, and social workers.
"Anyone who works with children are mandated reporters," Glisson said. "People can be legally arrested and tried for not reporting child abuse."
How are calls received at the center?
1) The operator receives the call.
2) The caller ID pops up and the operator writes the number down.
3) The call can be anonymous.
4) Take the call, place the information in the log.
5) Whether it is abuse or not, it is in the log.
6) A decision is made whether it is to be investigated.
"If someone knowingly accuses a false abuse report, they can be arrested and jailed," Glisson said. "This has happened in the past with ex-wives and ex-husbands."
Glisson was the special guest of the Stuttgart Kiwanis Club Thursday and presented a program on the Child Abuse Hotline.
To make a report on child abuse, contact the Child Abuse Hotline at (800) 482-5964.