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The Missouri Mandated Reporter Law requires volunteers and professionals who care for children to report cases of suspected child abuse and neglect. There are some who think state law makers should broaden this requirement to all licensed professionals. KSMU's Emily Nash has more.
According to the Greene County Prosecutor's Office, as of last month there have been 97 cases of sexual abuse reported against children this year in Greene County.
Darrell Moore, Prosecuting Attorney for Greene County says physical and sexual abuse are not the only kinds of abuse.
In February there was a summit in Springfield on preventing child abuse.
Prevention expert, Victor Vieth, outlined a 6 step plan that he says would help end child abuse in the next 120 years.
Moore says the first step of Vieth's plan is to have every suspected case of child abuse and neglect reported.
Missouri's Mandated Reporter Law says only professionals with responsibility for the care of children, such as doctors and teachers, are required to report cases of child abuse and neglect.
Moore says that Arkansas has recently passed a new law requiring all licensed professionals to be a mandated reporter of child abuse.
Arkansas also requires every licensed professional, ranging from dentists to lawyers, to be trained in recognizing the signs of child abuse and neglect.
State Representative of Springfield Bob Dixon says laws like the one in Arkansas have not been filed in Missouri and is still being researched.
The child courtroom law gives children certain rights in the courtroom.
Dixon, says Greene County is above the state average in abuse and neglect cases.
Prevention programs are one of the best ways to stop child abuse and neglect cases according to Greene County Prosecutor Darrell Moore.
For more information about child abuse and neglect prevention, we have a link to the Missouri Child Abuse Prevention web site at KSMU. Org.