The statistics for child abuse are heartbreaking these days. You have only to google “child abuse” to see how many little ones will succumb to harm during their lifetime. But on the flip side of that coin, there are a horrifying number of parents and caregivers who are falsely accused of child abuse these days. As abuse and neglect defense attorneys, we see it every day – loving parents and concerned caregivers who are accused of harming children, when in fact they did nothing wrong.
Because the current child abuse statistics are so high, our society is on hyper-alert – ever watchful for signs of child abuse or neglect. While that diligence can pay off in terms of protecting some children from abusive situations, it also means that false accusations and incorrect assumptions sometimes ruin good people’s lives.
Children, by their very nature, are not always careful. They sometimes trip when running, scrape themselves while climbing trees, and fall off their bicycles. Because their hand-eye coordination isn’t yet well developed, they acquire all sorts of bruises, bumps and scratches as they go about daily life. Between sports, outdoor play and general physicality, children are generally more prone than adults to minor injuries.
Just because a child has a bruise, a scratch or a scrape doesn’t mean that they are abused. Let’s face it, accidents can and do happen. Reporting a parent of caregiver for abuse simply because their child has abrasions and marks on their skin can put an innocent person in the spotlight, and cause a great deal of grief for the family, especially the children you are trying to protect.
This applies to more substantial injuries as well. Things like broken bones, fractures, cuts and even burns can happen in everyday life. There are a host of perfectly rational reasons for why a child may have a broken bone, like a skateboarding or bicycle accident, or something as simple as falling off a swing at the park.
A crying child seeking out their mother for comfort can walk too close to a stove without realizing the danger, and get splattered with hot oil. An toddler can reach up for a cup of hot tea on a side table and pull it over on themselves, causing burns. A pre-teen can fall out of a tree they were climbing. The list of explainable accidents is endless.
In addition to ordinary accidents, children sometimes get involved in scuffles. Arguments with neighborhood kids or playmates can devolve into pushing, hitting, kicking and even biting, all of which can cause injuries, and none of which are definitive indicators of abuse.
As experienced family law attorneys in Michigan, we deal with a vast number of parents and caregivers who are slandered and implicated by well-meaning mandatory reporters and even strangers who call CPS or police before bothering to find out if their suspicions have any merit.
So if you or a loved one have been falsely accused of abusing or neglecting a child, contact us immediately. We understand that there is always more to the story, and a great deal of damage can be done by one well-intentioned but incorrect person who makes assumptions. Don’t wait. It is critical that you have an experienced defense attorney on your die as soon as possible. We can help you.