Have you been falsely accused of child abuse? In today’s era and with the loose definitions of child abuse, it can be relatively easy to be accused (even falsely) of child abuse. If you’ve been accused of child abuse, you should not take your time with handling it. As experts in criminal defense in Placer County, we have experience with defending anyone charged with a crime including false accusations.
What is the Definition of Child Abuse?
In the simplest of terms, child abuse is the physical maltreatment or sexual molestation of a child. The age of a child will vary from area to area, but is generally any child younger than 14 years old. There are many different categories of child abuse and it can sometimes be easy to be accused of child abuse, even falsely.
Overall, any action (or inaction) that causes physical or emotional harm to a child, allows someone else to harm a child, or puts a child directly in harm’s way is a surefire way to get accused of child abuse. For most jurisdictions, this will always encompass physically hitting a child, causing emotional damage to them and/or sexually abusing them.
Why It’s Not Uncommon to Be Falsely Accused of Child Abuse
Being accused of child abuse is unfortunately not an uncommon thing to hear. As the accusation against another person of child abuse is easy, it can be relatively easy to be accused of child abuse for even “normal” discipline practices.
- Anybody can report ‘child abuse’ to law enforcement at any time.
- Definitions of child abuse will vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, making it difficult to draw a clear line between what is child abuse and what is not.
- Certain medical professionals, educational staff, caretakers and other social service providers are required to report any suspected child abuse.
- Children can intentionally make false claims against a parental figure.
Legal Consequences of Child Abuse Accusations
If the false accusation of child abuse persists without any pro-active action being taken, you run the risk of being subjected to various consequences that may be unnecessary and undeserved. If left unresolved, you risk any or all of the following:
- Losing custody of the child to another parent or relative.
- Losing custody of the child to the state.
- Losing all parental rights, including visitation of the child.
- Being legally forced to take and attend parenting classes.
- Being sentenced to time in prison.
Dealing with the Child Protective Services
Child Protective Services (CPS) is a government agency in many states of the US that reacts to reports of child abuse or child neglect. CPS serves to protect these children who have been abused or neglected by offering them a place to stay, offers referrals of community resources to families, and much more.
If you have been accused of child abuse, you will likely be contacted by CPS. Even if the accusations are false, you need to make sure to handle the situation with delicacy and care.
What to Do if Contacted by Child Protective Services
- Determine if you know what triggered the incident of investigation. This is typically an accident or specific parenting style that is not common to your current neighborhood, society or school culture.
- Remember to be polite and speak with tact when conversing with CPS agents and other related workers. Getting angry or being accusatory will only backfire and may run the risk of harming your case altogether.
- The best course of action is to seek legal guidance immediately. Whether or not you were falsely accused, you should immediately seek help from experts in the field of criminal defense. Consider retaining a Placer County criminal law attorney contact us who understands the juvenile dependency process. An experienced lawyer can handle the delicate balance between cooperating with the agencies and courts while aggressively protecting your parental rights and your relationship with your child.
Give us a call today and don’t delay. You may risk losing your child to Child Protective Services if you do not take action immediately. Our team is knowledgeable and dedicated to protecting those in Placer County. We service the cities of Rocklin, Roseville, Lincoln, Granite Bay and the surrounding areas.