False accusations of child abuse are more common than you might think. Often in difficult child custody battles, one parent will make child abuse accusations to gain an edge against the other parent. The courts are obligated to take such accusations seriously, but it almost always backfires. In other cases, the accusations are made in good faith by someone legitimately concerned about the child. It can be helpful in these cases to keep in mind that everyone involved is concerned about what is best for the child.
As scary and invasive as child abuse investigations can be, your best course of action is to allow them to proceed and prove your innocence. If you were wrongfully accused of child abuse, learning what to expect and how to handle the process can help.
After you are notified of child abuse allegations against you, begin to keep notes on all interactions you have regarding the case. Keep track of all meetings and the information that develops from them.
Cooperate with the investigation. Be calm and direct as you deny the allegations. Prove that you have nothing to hide by being as accommodating as possible. If you are fearful that the investigation may go against you, consider having a lawyer present during the exchange.
Do Your Part
Satisfy the requirements made by social services. Do everything you can to show that your first concern is your child and that you will abide by whatever they need to see that truth.
Understand the Purpose
The purpose of the case against you is to determine if there is a substantiated claim of abuse, meaning that there is probable cause to believe that the child was mistreated, which is not to say that you have been found guilty.
Do Not Speak Without a Lawyer
Know your rights when dealing with law enforcement. If arrested, you have the right to have a lawyer present. Even if you are not put under arrest, you may decline to answer questions without your lawyer.
Follow Court Orders
Do not try to see the child or confront the accuser. Cooperate with social services to follow on any court-ordered programs, such as anger management or addiction support.
Put Your Life Back Together
Even after the case is settled, the trauma of the incident may linger. Counseling may be beneficial for you and your child. Ensure that any damage to your professional standing is repaired by showing that the case was closed or resolved in your favor. Do your best to assure your child that they are safe and that the issue is resolved.
New Jersey DCPP Lawyers at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker Help Those Accused of Child Abuse
If you were accused of child abuse or neglect, you may fear that you will lose custody of your child. The New Jersey DCPP lawyers at the Law Offices of Theodore J. Baker can help you understand the entire process from the initial interview through court-ordered services and post-case follow up. Contact us online or call us at 856-795-9400 for an initial consultation. Located in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, we serve families throughout South Jersey, including Haddonfield, Marlton, Medford, Moorestown, Mount Laurel, and Voorhees.