Strategies for Avoiding Abusive Situations – Part One

March 1, 2015 Abuse and Neglect Attorney

Don’t be One of the Falsely Accused!

“Prevent child abuse” is one of the easiest things to say, and yet one of the most daunting and terrifying subjects to actually address. But it doesn’t have to be. A series of simple strategies can help you to avoid abusive situations for your kids, and even false accusations for yourself. Which, let’s face it, is always better than picking up the pieces after the fact. Like the old saying goes, ” an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”

First, know the facts. It is easy to dismiss numbers and statistics as being something unrelated to your personal life. But the truth is: no one is immune, even from false accusations. And no one gets a free pass just because they didn’t take the time to learn the truth.

One in every five kids will be abused in some way before they reach their 18th birthday. That is not just a number, that is an enormous group of children whose lives will be damaged, in some cases irreparably so. And some parents will also have their lives and reputations damaged when they are falsely accused of child abuse.  Next time you walk into your daughter’s classroom at school, or attend your son’s next football practice, remember those numbers. Look at those kid’s faces and know that a full quarter of them won’t make it to adulthood unharmed. Some won’t make it at all.

But here is the kicker – of all those abused children, only one in ten will report it. Staggering stats, when you think about it. And heartbreaking too. But depressing as this is, you are in a position to change that. If everyone made it their business to be informed and be aware, those numbers would likely see significant decreases. And, although those facing false accusations still want them, there would be much less of a need for Child Abuse Defense Attorneys.

So lets, talk about what that means for you and your family….

The reality is that, much as no one likes to admit this, most abusers are not in fact strangers. They are family members, or friends of family. So the fact is that somewhere in your life there is probably a person who is an abuser.  And there is likely someone watching you who might misunderstand your parenting actions too, which makes you vulnerable to false accusations. 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. Scary stuff!

Another fact to consider is that there is nothing about an abuser that marks them, or sets them apart from non-abusers, so there is no way to tell who is and who isn’t. This is important. You can’t leave your child to be cared for by someone that you feel is safe because they “are so polite” or “seem well educated” or “have a kind face”. Facts, not feelings, need to guide your choices.

And the younger your kids are, the more careful you need to be. After all, almost a quarter of abused children are under the age of 8, and the average age of an abuse victim is 9. We don’t mean to terrify you here, but the reality is scary and you need to be fully informed in order to make smart choices on behalf of your children and protect yourself from false accusations including “failure to protect” charges. In the next segment we will start talking about what you can do and how you can do it. Don’t lose hope – you CAN make a difference!

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