Being falsely accused of child abuse, whether by your spouse, a family member or someone outside of the family creates a definite challenge for the accused. It can summon up feeling of hatred and scorn towards your accuser, especially if you were accused by your spouse as an outcome of an argument or as a ploy to gain custody in a divorce action.
Keep your emotions in check. An emotional outburst from you when you first hear the accusations will do nothing to help your case. If you must say anything, deny the accusations, but do not say anything else. If the person relating the accusations is not the accuser, try to find out who the accuser is. You will need to know if your spouse or another close family member is the person making the accusations, or if it is an outside source, such as a teacher or guidance counselor making the accusations. A family member or spouse will have firsthand knowledge as to whether or not they are making things up, while a third party can only rely on what is being told to them by the child or another family member.
Check your child in the presence of an individual you trust for marks and bruises. The child's pediatrician may be very helpful in this situation. If you do see marks and bruises, discuss the issue with the pediatrician and advise him or her where you believe the child may have received the marks and bruises (i.e., did the child fall off his bike recently, etc.). Document your visit and findings.
Contact the Department of Family and Child Services and advise them that you have been accused of child abuse. Advise as to whether or not there are bruises and marks on the child, and if so, where the child got the bruises and marks. If the marks are from abuse from another family member or third party, advise the department that you suspect that person of abuse. Advise as to whether or not you are going through a separation or divorce. Advise them if your spouse or the third party has a drug or alcohol problem. Let the department know you will be contacting your attorney. Document your visit and/or conversation.
Contact your attorney and explain the situation. Advise that you have already contacted the Department of Family and Child Services. Ask your attorney about defending yourself against the allegations. Show him the documentation from the doctor or other party who helped you examine the child. Show your attorney the documentation of your visit or conversation with the Department of Family and Child Services.
Ask your attorney about home studies and psychological examinations. These are usually required if you are going through divorce and are fighting for custody. They can also help in cases where you were falsely accused of child abuse.
- Document everything--all conversations with professionals, with your accuser or with doctors. If you need to record a conversation, the other party must give you permission to record the conversation. If you record the conversation without the knowledge of the other person, you may not be able to use that recording, but you can use it to take notes to document your conversation or meeting.
- It is pertinent that you contact and attorney regarding any false allegations. You must head the allegations off before they get worse. Do not ignore them and think they will go away. If you have proof of someone else abusing your child, have that ready for your attorney. Do not lose your temper when dealing with issues such as this. It will only go against you.
- You must not attempt to defend yourself against these charges. Always employ the assistance of professionals, including an attorney.
Cayden Conor has been writing since 1996. She has been published on several websites and in the winter 1996 issue of "QECE." Conor specializes in home and garden, dogs, legal, automotive and business subjects, with years of hands-on experience in these areas. She has an Associate of Science (paralegal) from Manchester Community College and studied computer science, criminology and education at University of Tampa.