Although facing charges of child abuse or neglect doesn’t mean you are guilty, you still need to consider the seriousness of the situation you are in and the implications it can have.
People’s perceptions of you are everything in this world, and having your name marred by false or true allegations of child abuse can be life-damaging. You may wonder how such false claims can happen, and the truth is, sometimes it’s an honest mistake and other times it’s an intentional undermining of your rights.
If you have a child who is constantly getting hurt, be it from sports injuries, legitimate accidents at home, or other incidences outside of your control, you can find yourself facing Family and Child Services if the attending physician deems the injuries as suspicious. It’s a doctor’s legal obligation to report anything that appears to be child abuse to the authorities, and unfortunately for parents, many times these injuries are not caused by abuse.
Even so, parents can find themselves the subject of an investigation to determine if they are putting their children in danger, and regardless of the results of the investigation, your reputation – and your child’s – could be irreparably damaged.
In cases of divorce, particularly where things are less than amicable, and a child is involved, sometimes parents can take things too far. It’s not uncommon for one parent to accuse another of abusive behavior in order to roadblock any attempt at full or shared custody of the child. In many cases, the claims are false and are simply being laid to injure the other parent. Unfortunately, this can cause a lot of problems for the accused parent and should never be taken lightly.
If you work in a profession that deals with children—say you are a teacher—accusations of this nature can leave you without a job, or at the very least an unpaid suspension until an investigation is completed.
Don’t take it lightly
Whether or not you are innocent of the accusations, and whether or not you know or feel that things can clearly be proved, one way or the other, you shouldn’t brush off child neglect allegations. The potential for the situation to get blown out of proportion or veer way off course is great. It’s important that you seek legal counsel immediately in these situations.
Although a thorough investigation may pan out in your favor quickly, there is a good chance that the damage may already be done by then. Regardless of who your accuser is, don’t discuss the matter with anyone but your child abuse defense lawyer. If any evidence is gathered to support the claims, you could end up facing a jury, and you don’t want to be giving the prosecution any help in proving their case. You know the rule the police have for the media: “we cannot discuss the details of an ongoing investigation…”; this is the same rule you should adopt when you are facing criminal charges. You should discuss your case only with your lawyer.