As defense attorneys we deal with a lot of clients who have been falsely accused of abusing a child. However, we also see a great deal of the flip side of that coin – parents whose children actually have been abused, and it’s not a pretty situation. So we would like to take a few minutes to talk about some strategies you can employ to keep your kids safe, while avoiding being falsely accused of abuse yourself.
First, know the facts. It’s easy to dismiss numbers and statistics as being ‘boring’ or unrelated to your personal life. But the truth is, no one is immune from reality, which includes actual abuse and false accusations of abuse. Also, no one gets a free pass just because they didn’t take the time to learn the truth. Remember – ignorance is no excuse.
Current statistics reveal that one in every five kids is abused in some way before they reach their 18th birthday. That’s not just a number. It’s a huge group of children whose lives will be damaged, in some cases irreparably. Next time you walk into your child’s classroom at school, remember those numbers. A full quarter of the children in that room won’t make it to adulthood unharmed. Some won’t make it at all.
However, depressing as this is, you are in a position to help change that. If everyone made it their business to be informed and aware, those numbers would likely see significant decreases. More children would be protected, more actual crimes would be reported, and less innocent people would be falsely accused.
So what can you do? Both to protect your children, and to protect yourself? There are a number of options available, starting with ways to keep your children safe. While most people are uncomfortable with this fact, the reality is that most abusers are not strangers. Statistics show that they are usually family members, or friends of family. So the fact is that somewhere in your life is a person who is likely to be a child abuser.
Studies on abuse have shown that almost 35% of victims suffer at the hands of a family member, while a full 59% of them are abused by people who are considered to be safe, or trusted by the family. Another fact to bear in mind is that there is nothing about an abuser that sets them apart from non-abusers. There’s no way to tell by looking at someone who is and who isn’t. This is important to remember.
We would encourage parents who are concerned about their children’s welfare, to take the time to know more about the people they are leaving their children with for care. You shouldn’t leave a child with someone that you believe is safe simply because they “seem so nice” or “have a kind face”. Ask questions. Talk to others first. Check their criminal history online. Facts, not feelings, need to guide your choices.
The younger your kids are, the more careful you need to be. Almost a quarter of abused children are under the age of 8, while the average age of an abuse victim is 9. We don’t mean to frighten you or cause you alarm, but you need to be fully informed in order to make the best and safest choices on behalf of your child.
Join us next time, when we will be looking at additional ways that a parent can minimize the opportunity for their children to be harmed, while also working to keep themselves safe from false allegations of abuse. It’s not a fun topic of discussion, we know, but knowledge is power and we want to empower you and your children to be safe.
If however, you have been accused of abusing a child, whether or not you are guilty of the crime, contact us immediately at 800-576-6035. The skilled and experienced attorneys at the The Kronzek Firm have decades of experience handling child abuse cases. We can help you too.