What To Do When You're Being Investigated For Child Abuse
Being investigated for an allegation of child abuse is a serious situation that should not be taken lightly. An investigation can easily turn into a formal charge if you don't know how to proceed. Unfortunately, this statement is true even if you aren't guilty. If you are being investigated for this crime, it is imperative that you understand how to progress forward.
When people hear the term child abuse they generally think of direct physical abuse, such as hitting a child. When you know you're not guilty of this, it can be hard to understand why you're even being investigated. Child abuse is a blanket term, encompassing a number of different scenarios. At its lowest degree, an individual whose omission or reckless behavior results in the physical or mental harm of a child can be investigated.
In this case, a parent's failure to notify a child care provider that their child has a severe peanut allergy could result in an investigation should the child have an allergic reaction, for instance. While a charge may not result if it is found to be an innocent omission, the parent is subject to an investigation nonetheless.
When an individual is arrested, the Miranda Warning clearly lets them know that anything they say can be used against them. Just because you may not formally hear these words when you are under investigation, understand that the same rules apply. The purpose of an investigation isn't just to look for an indication of guilt, but to also start collecting evidence and building a case.
Few things can hurt an innocent person worse than a loose tongue. Saying more than necessary or even speaking in indecisive terms, such as I think, can all hurt you and cause you to be charged with a crime that you are innocent of. The moment you find out you are under investigation, it's time to remain quiet and only speak with your attorney.
An investigation for child abuse often accompanies an investigation from child protective services; however, this isn't always the case. Additionally, just because CPS has concluded their investigation – this doesn't mean that the criminal investigation isn't still active. Make sure you understand that the police department and child protective services are two separate entities. Don't assume that a closed CPS case means you're free and clear.
A charge of child abuse is very difficult to fight. Don't let a mistake during the investigation process cause you to be charged with a crime you are not guilty of. Make sure you speak with an attorney for additional info.