As attorneys who have spent decades defending parents and caregivers who have been falsely accused of child abuse, we encounter a lot of misinformation about child abuse in our daily practice. As a result, we thought it may be helpful to take a few minutes to discuss some myths and their correlating facts, when it comes to this difficult subject.
It may seem like a strange subject for us, as abuse defense attorney, but the truth is that we understand the impact child abuse has on children. Therefore, we hope this two part series will shed some light on the subject, and help dispel some of the falsehoods you may not even realize that you believe.
People who were abused as children grow up to become child abusers themselves.
While there is some truth to that statement, it is only partly true. Current statistics show that only about 30% of adults who were abused or neglected as children will abuse their own children later in life. However, the concept that people are locked into a cycle of abuse that they are unable to break is untrue. There is research to indicate that when a child is able to talk about the abuse they suffered in a supportive environment, they are far less likely to become abusers themselves. For this reason, it’s not acceptable to assume that because someone had a difficult childhood, they are more likely to become an abusive parent.
However, If you were abused as a child AND you’ve been accused of abuse, it is important to speak with an Attorney. Family Law Attorney Brandy Thompson says, “In my experience, if CPS is aware of the abuse you suffered as a child, they will have a bias against you and make assumptions about the cycle of abuse despite the statistics.”
It’s easy to tell a ‘child molester’ by the way they look.
It is never a good idea to label someone an “abuser” simply by the way they look. Conversely, it is just as ill-advised to assume that someone is “safe” just because they look a certain way. The truth is that there is no “look” that all ‘child molesters’ share, nor is there a certain physical characteristic that will help someone tell if a person is a ‘child molester‘ or not.
It’s only really abuse if it’s physical, and it leaves marks.
According to statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 78% of child abuse reports made stem from neglect. Neglect can be summed up as a parent or caregiver’s failure to provide a child’s basic needs. In this light, neglect refers to: not providing food or adequate clothing, not providing necessary medical care when a child needs it, not providing access to education, and also being inattentive to a child’s emotional and psychological needs.
Child abuse doesn’t happen as often as people think.
Child abuse is not uncommon, and it doesn’t only happen in certain demographics or certain parts of the world. It happens in wealthy families and in poor ones, in “good” neighborhoods and in “bad” ones, in big cities and in rural communities. It is everywhere, and it affects everyone, in one way or another. Statistical data provided by the U.S. Department of Justice reveals that 1 in every 5 children will experience some form of abuse before they reach adulthood. In addition, children with disabilities are at a higher risk for abuse.
Please join us next time for the wrap up of this two part series on myths and facts about child abuse. Until then, if you or a loved one have been falsely accused of abusing or neglecting a child in Michigan, you are going to need a highly skilled defense attorney. Call us immediately at 517-886-1000. We have years of experience protecting the rights of accused parents, and our success rate is very high. Don’t wait and hope for a good outcome – you need to take decisive action, and we can help you do that!