Reacting to an accusation of child abuse

If you are a parent, you will feel that you are doing everything possible to raise your child in the best way. Bringing up children is a momentous challenge, and every child is different. As the child's parent, it is likely that you know and understand them more than any one else. Therefore, it can be extremely upsetting if a neighbor or an acquaintance falsely accuses you of neglecting or abusing your child. You may worry that you will lose custody of your child, and a great deal of stress can result.

It is important that you understand your right to respond to and defend yourself from such an accusation. Just because a person accused you of something, it does not mean that you are guilty of this. You should try your best to remain calm and invest time in getting informed about the next steps.

Preventing a false accusation

Unfortunately, some parents falsely accuse the other parent of abuse or neglect because they want to get revenge or let out their anger. While this behavior is never acceptable, by trying to be civil with the other parent of your child, you may be able to prevent the accusation from ever being made.

Taking action after you have been accused

It is important that you understand how child abuse laws work in Florida. Child abuse in Florida is defined as physical, emotional or sexual abuse. It can also be defined as neglect or abandonment. A person who knowingly made a false report of child abuse may be punished with a felony in the 3rd degree. It is important that you make the accuser aware of the consequences of their actions.

You should also make sure that you maintain a good relationship with your children or the child involved in the allegations, regardless of their age. You should never be resentful toward them for the accusations, because this can heighten tension.

If you have been accused of child abuse in Florida, you should not underestimate the seriousness of the accusation. Make sure to take action as soon as possible so that you can defend yourself successfully.

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Beverly L . Brennan A PARTNER AT MCLAUGHLIN & STERN, LLP - NAPLES, FLORIDA ATTORNEY & COUNSELOR AT LAW

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