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Changing standards for child abuse reporting

It's been in the news for weeks. Accusations of inappropriate behavior with children taking place on university campuses like Penn State - and some failed to report it.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - It's been in the news for weeks. Accusations of inappropriate behavior with children taking place on university campuses like Penn State - and some failed to report it.

Arkansas higher education leaders and lawmakers want to avoid it happening here. They started today by redefining who must report abuse allegations.

"The current statute is pretty broad,” Shane Broadway with the Arkansas Department of Higher Education said. “It doesn't exclude higher education institutions, but it doesn't say they're included either."

Broadway says that including university personnel will make them mandatory reporters. That title requires them to report any kind of abuse to a child abuse hotline and police, therefore bypassing their campus superiors to make sure the allegations are reported.

"There are concerns that it will destroy someone's career, concern they might be mistaking," Stephanie Smith with the National Child Protection Training Center said.

Smith served as Regional Director for the National Child Protection Training Center. She says many cases go unreported because the alleged abuser is well liked by colleagues and the community.

"It's someone they trust, they're comfortable with and more importantly it's someone their parents trust," Smith said.

Lawmakers want people like smith to train higher education employees so children are protected.

State Senator Missy Irvin (R) agrees.

"We as adults need to understand the horrors of child abuse and how it damages a child," Irvin said.

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