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Child Abuse Law of Which You May Not Have Heard

Updated: Nov 18, 2020

The Forging Place is a dynamic team of therapy specialists serving the River Valley area in Van Buren and Greenwood. We provide counseling in a variety of areas including: marriages, children and teens, mental health, sex, trauma, and more.


There are many somewhat obvious laws in the state of Arkansas concerning the maltreatment of children through sexual, physical, emotional, or neglectful means. It is unknown to some however, the legal responsibility a caretaker has in protecting children from pornography.

SECTION 1. Arkansas Code § 12-12-503(17), concerning child abuse and neglect states: Sexual abuse is as classified:

(D) By a caretaker to a person younger than eighteen (18) years of age:  (i) Forcing or encouraging the watching of pornography;  (ii) Forcing, permitting, or encouraging the watching of live sexual activity…

Of course there are several other actions that classify as sexual abuse, however “encouraging” the watching of pornography can take place in many forms. It is also important to point out that this applies to any child under the age of 18. Some courts have ruled than not protecting a child from pornography ie: not having the appropriate adult content blockers on computers is negligent considering the culture In which we live, and therefore sexual abuse charges have been filed. In one particular Pulaski county case, parents were charged because their son hosted a sleepover where porn was viewed. The parents were charged for having pornography in their house and therefore “encouraging” the watching of it. This is one more incentive to protect your children and teenagers from the grip of pornography. Have the necessary ongoing narrative in place in your household, hold them accountable, and set up protection from them.

The second law quoted seems more extreme and perhaps less likely to happen in your house. However, pay attention to the word “permitting.” This word is used several times in abuse laws and it implies that the absence of supervision in certain instances, or not being engaged on some level to possibly guide your teen can constitute as abuse. These laws are not quoted to scare but rather to encourage parents to be bold. Trust your teen but also remember that you are responsible and equipped as their parent to guide and protect them as is necessary.

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