How Is Child Abuse Identified and Reported?
As defined by the California Department of Education, child abuse or neglect can entail:
- Physical injury inflicted on a child
- Sexual abuse, assault, or exploitation of a child
- Neglect or maltreatment of a child that threatens the child’s health or welfare
- Willful harming or endangerment of a child
- Any cruel or inhumane corporal punishment resulting in a traumatic condition for the child
Usually, child abuse is reported when a person reasonably suspects that a child has been the subject of abuse or neglect. However, a person does not have to physically witness any abuse or have definitive proof of abuse in order to make a report. In fact, most of the time, these reports are based on signs including any signs of physical harm, the child’s behavior, or the child’s interaction with his/her parents or guardians. These reporters can include teachers, counselors, doctors, or other parents.
Once a report is made, local law enforcement officers are required to investigate. They may do this by conducting interviews of you and your child, and by performing risk and safety assessments to evaluate whether the living conditions are a safe environment for the child.
What Should I Do If I’ve Been Falsely Accused of Child Abuse?
Child abuse accusations are taken very seriously, and a child abuse conviction can carry severe consequences. In addition to facing fines and jail time, you may lose custody of your beloved child. Unfortunately, false accusations are not uncommon. Sometimes, desperation in a child custody battle may lead to one party accusing another of child abuse or neglect in order to gain favor. In other cases, allegations may stem from a simple misunderstanding or misinterpretation. If you are facing false child abuse allegations, contact Wallin & Klarich as soon as possible to see how we can prevent your child from being taken away.
In addition to securing an attorney, there are several steps you may want to take if you have been falsely accused of child abuse. Firstly, you can reach out to family, friends, or anyone you trust to vouch for you and your parenting abilities in an interview. During these interviews, your loved ones will have an opportunity to speak openly or provide a written statement to the court regarding your abilities as a parent. Having a support system will not only help you through a difficult investigation, but can also help show the judge see that you are not abusive.
Furthermore, you may want to be proactive about gathering additional evidence that the accusations against you are false. For example, if the alleged incident occurred on a certain day, corroborate your story with witnesses or an alibi. Individuals who make false reports will often make mistakes when recounting their lies. If this is the case, take note of any inconsistencies or contradictions in the accusations against you. Finding evidence that undermines these allegations will help to prove that they are false.
Lastly, it is important that you comply with the investigation and be as cooperative as possible. Although this is a stressful situation, how you react will determine the court’s perception of you. When a social worker comes to interview you, allow access to your home and answer questions openly and honestly. Otherwise, investigators may interpret your reluctance as a sign of guilt. Do not, under any circumstances, insult or become angry at the worker or potential accuser. Your cooperation shows investigators and the court that you have nothing to hide.
Contact Wallin & Klarich Today
If you are falsely accused of child abuse, you need an experienced defense team to represent you and clear your name. With 40+ years of experience, Wallin & Klarich is your best choice amongst Southern California criminal defense firms. Our attorneys have helped thousands of clients in family law cases, successfully reuniting loved ones. We understand how difficult these cases can be, but we will be there every step of the way. You can place your trust in us.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, Torrance, West Covina, Los Angeles, and San Diego, you are sure to find an available and convenient attorney near you.
Discover how our team can assist you. Contact us today, toll-free at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free consultation with a skilled defense attorney.