Clergy as Mandatory Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect - Arkansas

Date: May 2023

The Requirement for Clergy to Report 

Citation: Ann. Code § 12-18-402

A clergy member shall immediately notify the child abuse hotline if either of the following apply:

  • They have reasonable cause to suspect that a child has been subjected to child maltreatment, has died because of child maltreatment, or has died suddenly and unexpectedly.
  • They observe a child being subjected to conditions or circumstances that would reasonably result in child maltreatment.

A clergy member includes a minister, priest, rabbi, accredited Christian Science practitioner, or other similar functionary of a religious organization or an individual reasonably believed to be so by the person consulting them.

Privileged Communications

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 12-18-402; 12-18-803(b)

Clergy must report suspected child maltreatment except when either of the following applies:

  • They acquired knowledge of suspected child maltreatment through communications required to be kept confidential pursuant to the religious discipline of the relevant denomination or faith.
  • They received the knowledge of the suspected child maltreatment from the alleged offender in the context of a statement of admission.

No privilege, except that between a lawyer and client or between a minister, including a Christian Science practitioner, and a person confessing to or being counseled by the minister, shall prevent anyone from testifying concerning child maltreatment.