As people become educated about child abuse laws and procedures, they are more likely to report possible abuse. However, there are situations where reports of abuse are unsubstantiated, even if they are made in good faith. The perceived abuse is found to be untrue or misconstrued. Sometimes, such as in a messy divorce where custody has yet to be determined, abuse allegations are intentionally false, In any situation, if you find yourself facing false child abuse allegations there important steps you should take (and not take), with the help of an attorney.
DON’T ever abuse your children or others, physically, emotionally, or sexually.
DON’T allow yourself to be in situations that could arouse suspicion. This could include accompanying children to the bathroom, disciplining them, helping them change clothes, or bathing them. If you are required to do any of these things, try to have another adult present whenever possible so they can observe there is no wrongdoing.
DON’T be passive if false accusations are raised. If you are the victim of false child abuse allegations, take counter-action immediately.
DON’T hesitate to ask your attorney any questions that arise before retaining him or her, and any questions that come as your case proceeds.
DON’T get pushed into admitting anything you did not do, even if may seem simpler to do so. Even if it seems easier, a conviction of child abuse is not worth it. A child abuse conviction has devastating and long-term effects on many important aspects in your life, including future employment, future relationships, and your future in general.
DON’T do anything else that could potentially be seen as suspicious, such as lose your temper with the authorities involved in your case. Even though such a situation is extremely frustrating, losing control could be seen as evidence to support the allegations.
DON’T give up. Fighting false child abuse allegations might be difficult and ugly and frustrating, but disproving the allegations will always be completely worth the effort.
DO try to prevent the possibility of false allegations if at all possible. This might involve avoiding being around children without another adult present. Any individual whose job requires them to be around children, such as day care workers, scout leaders, coaches, and others, may be especially at risk for false child abuse allegations. They will want to make sure they have another adult present around children so they can confirm no abuse occurred.
DO try to determine custody in your divorce on good terms, to prevent the possibility of an angry spouse using false allegations as a means of obtaining custody or getting back at you.
DO avoid any behavior that could be seen as inappropriate when dealing with children. Avoid making sexually suggestive comments, telling dirty jokes, rough-housing, or engaging in aggressive horseplay.
DO hire an experienced attorney as soon as false allegations are brought against you. It is always a good idea to have an attorney on your side to protect your interests, even if you think the case will blow over and that the truth will prevail.
DO find and contact friends, co-workers, family members, and others who can testify on your behalf, either by written affidavit or in court.
DO continue maintaining a positive relationships with your children. False allegations are never the child’s fault. Even if they say words that support the allegations, false accusations can easily be forced on the child through no fault of their own.
DO recognize that allegations of child abuse must be taken seriously and investigated, even if you know they have no basis. No matter how unfounded the accusations may be, allegatiosn will always be investigated to protect the child.