Being falsely accused of anything, especially something as heinous as child abuse, can be an overwhelmingly stressful experience. You may feel helpless and frustrated, particularly if the allegation involves your own family. However, if you respond promptly, there are steps you can take to work through such a trying time.
If you have done nothing wrong, it is normal to feel outraged when facing these types of allegations, but you must act with urgency. Your first step is the most vital: hiring an experienced DCPP lawyer to represent you. You want to do so as quickly as possible, as the police or child protective services will begin their investigation right away.
After you secure legal guidance, keep in mind that anything you say and how you say it can either help or harm you. Investigation will begin if the claim is substantiated; if the claim is unfounded then you will be exonerated. Either way, it is best to speak to a lawyer and discuss with them what is the next best thing to do.
Here are some additional things to keep in mind if you are falsely accused of child abuse:
- Handling allegations: Start keeping records of the allegations as soon as possible, such as a diary or journal. Understanding the allegations against you is important; perhaps they came from a spiteful ex-spouse or a child that suffers from mental illness or behavioral issues. It is not uncommon or bad to seek counseling or therapy because of false accusations, as it will likely put a strain on your mental health.
- Social services: Working with social services instead of against them may be beneficial to your case. You will be notified that social services wants to interview you, and you have the option to speak to a lawyer first or refuse the interview. However, refusing to speak to them may make you look bad as they can interpret your refusal negatively, and investigators act in the best interests of the child.
- Interview: Keep in mind that you do not have to give your consent for the interviewer to talk to your child. Remember to think before you speak and follow the advice of your lawyer. If necessary, politely deny the accusations from the interviewer. You could also ask to reschedule the interview for when your lawyer is present if you are unsure how to answer some questions.
- Substantiated claim: It is important to understand if your abuse claim is substantiated or not. If your claim is substantiated, it does not mean you are guilty, but it does mean that there is “probable cause,” and the investigation will continue.
- Police: It is possible you will be interviewed by the police as well, depending on the nature of the allegations. If you are under arrest, you are allowed to invoke your right to a lawyer; if you are not under arrest, decline to speak to the police until you speak with a lawyer.
- Follow court orders: Listen to your lawyer and follow court orders. Do not defy the court as you will be found in contempt of court, and you will look guilty.
- Cooperate: It is in your best interest to cooperate with social services, as you may be ordered to participate in counseling or anger management. There may be aftercare services provided to you should the case be resolved, as well as visits from social services to check on the situation. Cooperation and politeness is key to getting social services out of your life and to close your file.
- Fix your relationships: After your case is resolved, focus on repairing your relationships, especially with your child. You could seek counseling and therapy for you and your family and remember that your child should come first above all.
South Jersey DCPP Lawyers at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker Help Families Accused of Child Abuse
If you are accused of child abuse, you need to act quickly and speak with a lawyer immediately. The South Jersey DCPP lawyers at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker can help. Our experienced team has years of experience with these types of cases and will defend your rights tirelessly. Call us today at 856-210-9776 or fill out our online form for an initial consultation. With our offices located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we proudly serve all clients of Haddonfield, Marlton, Medford, Moorestown, Mount Laurel, Voorhees, and South Jersey.