If you ever find yourself in a position where you are accused of child abuse, you are in a very non-enviable position. The public perception of abuse against children has such a strong negative stigma that, even if the allegations are not true, you can be tried and found guilty by the media and in the court of public opinion even before formal criminal charges are levied against you.
Even so, you must mount a strong defense against such charges. There are defenses against false child abuse accusations that an attorney can help you establish once he understands the facts of your situation. Following are some of the common circumstances that can result in false child abuse accusations being levied against someone and ways to legitimately explain those circumstances.
If a child is injured as the result of an accident, state laws related to child abuse generally will not punish the parents or caregivers. An example of an accident is injuries from a trampoline where a collision between the child and parent results in an injury to the child or in the child leaving the confines of the trampoline and landing on the ground.
If a child is injured because of an accident stemming from carelessness or negligence of the parent, then there is an increased chance the authorities will file criminal charges against the parent. An example of an accident resulting from parental negligence is when a child shoots himself with a firearm that was not properly locked up by the parent.
Claims of an injury being accidental may be more difficult if a child has a series of “accidents” that require multiple visits to the emergency room. As people in positions where they can observe possible child abuse evidence, such as doctors, nurses, teachers, and police officers, are required to report such information to Child Protective Services (CPS), multiple appearances in the emergency room may be viewed with suspicion.
Parents have the right to discipline their children, but there is an increasingly fine line between what is considered acceptable discipline and what is considered child abuse. Spanking a child, for example, has historically been an acceptable form of discipline.
However, there are some organizations that believe that any physical contact between the parent and the child as a punishment is unhealthy for the child and can result in long-term emotional or mental issues. Certainly if the spanking is performed in such a manner or with an implement that causes injury beyond perhaps minor bruising, it may well cross the line into child abuse.
Testimony of Children or Partners
It is not unusual for a child or a person’s spouse to level false accusations of child abuse against someone. This can be, for example, because the parents are going through a divorce and the child believes that such allegations will return attention in the situation back to them, or because one of the spouses believes such allegations will improve their chances of obtaining custody of the child.
However, it is difficult to fabricate physical evidence that will align with such allegations.
Some religions do not believe in or permit the use of modern medicine. Therefore, there are times when children may contract readily treatable illnesses or diseases that result in the death of the child. Parents are generally not prosecuted if such treatment is withheld from a child as the result of religious beliefs.
As noted above, child abuse accusations can be a serious matter. But if such allegations are false, there are reasonable and legitimate defenses that can be used against such accusations.
However, given the serious nature of child abuse charges, you should not defend yourself against such allegations alone. Hire a criminal defense attorney who is experienced with such charges, as they will have an understanding of child abuse laws in your state and will be able to readily apply those laws to your situation to provide the best defense available.
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