A child abuse charge could haunt you for the rest of your life, particularly if the abuse alleged is sexual in nature. Even if the allegation is proved false, you may never regain your good name or reputation and may face an uphill battle in custody court.
There are many circumstances that result in an allegation of child abuse. Children, especially younger children, are impressionable. They may overhear or experience something completely innocent, and repeat it to someone, who mistakenly takes it as a statement that abuse occurred.
Unfortunately, there are some parents out there who will intentionally make a false claim of child abuse against another parent to gain an unfair advantage in a custody battle or out of feelings of jealousy or bitterness about a relationship gone wrong. Being a victim of a false child abuse allegation is often a nightmare that feels like it will never go away.
Child abuse defined
West Virginia law defines child abuse as threatening a child’s health and well-being. A child’s health and well-being can be threatened through:
- Actual or attempted infliction of physical or mental injury
- Domestic violence
- Selling or attempting to sell a child
- Sexual abuse or exploitation
Inflicting physical or mental injury can be on the child themselves or on any other child in the household. Therefore, if your child claims they witnessed you physically injure another child in your house, you may still find yourself facing abuse charges involving your own child.
You have legal rights
It does not take long for the repercussions of a child abuse accusation to appear. Sadly, there may be people in your life who label you an abuser before getting the facts or waiting for a thorough investigation to be completed.
Securing strong legal counsel immediately upon a child abuse allegation is vital. After a child abuse allegation is reported, it is investigated and you will need to take many steps.
You have legal rights that must be protected. Knowing what to say and when to say it during a child investigation is important since some statements could harm you even if you did not do what you are being accused of doing.