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What is Child Abuse?

According to Federal regulations, specifically the Federal Child Abuse Prevention Treatment Act (CAPTA), child abuse is any act or failure to act by any person that results in death, serious physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse or exploitation of a child. Also, this includes any act or failure to act that presents an imminent risk of serious harm. Federal law mandates each state to hold specific definitions of child abuse and neglect. For this reason, the laws vary from state to state. Read below where Lawyers on JustAnswer have answered questions.

Can the local child protection agencies keep someone away from a child for improper conduct when no charges are filed?

Child protection agencies have a lot of power in determining what is in the best interest of the child. They can and will take actions to make sure that a child has no contact with someone who presents a possible threat. The best way for you to try and rectify this situation is to challenge the findings through an administrative appeal. Oftentimes, this is initiated with a paper review that may lead you to the next level of an administrative hearing. At this point, both parties can bring all evidence before a judge. This appeal process is imperative and very important. A crime like child abuse could disqualify you from having any career that involves being around children or the elderly. You can ask Lawyers on JustAnswer to verify the implications of your situation.

If someone is suspected of child abuse, would the child be removed from the home of the suspect?

Many times, depending on the severity of the abuse, Child Protective Services (CPS) will leave the child in the home until a deeper investigation is completed. Many factors are taken into consideration -- if there is a witness who can testify, if the witness is credible, the type of abuse, and the age of the child. Complete investigations, as well as comprehensive home visits, often prove that the children are safe in their surroundings. Many times, however, monitored home visits will continue as an added precaution. Sometimes, it is a good idea for the suspect to seek legal counsel to protect their rights as well.

How can one find out who filed a sexual abuse charge against another person?

If the charge is still under investigation, it is usually not possible to find out who filed the complaint. The investigating authorities will keep this information confidential until the investigation is completed. However, once charges are filed, and if the circumstances are based on a person’s statement, you have the right to face your accuser. At this time, you will know who filed the charge and you may present your rebuttal.

If child abuse charges have been dropped, can you get allegations removed from the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) database?

The Criminal Records Bureau contains every detail of a person’s criminal background. The fact that the allegation was made will stay on permanent record. However, since the records will show every detail of the allegation, it will also reveal that the allegation was dropped, and no criminal charges were filed. Many times it can be hard to find employment if you have a blemish on your records with the CRB. There can also be other repercussions of having a child abuse charge on your record, so if you do not fully understand child abuse laws, you can ask a Lawyer on JustAnswer.

Can a person get temporary custody of nephew/niece until the parents are cleared of the child abuse and neglect charges?

In order to start temporary custody proceedings, the applicant will need to file a petition with the court that ordered the child into foster care. Many times the court will look at a few factors before deciding where to place the child: 

  1. How old the child is and if he/she is in school.
  2. Whether the applicant has children.
  3. Criminal backgrounds of everyone living in the applicant’s home as well as the immediate family.
  4. How the applicant would provide for the child financially.

Is it possible to get a misdemeanor child abuse charge expunged from your record?

Many states have different laws pertaining to criminal records. Oftentimes, if you have a misdemeanor child abuse charge it cannot be expunged unless you have had this charge dismissed or were found not guilty. Expunging records usually happens if you can prove you have not been convicted of any crime and have not committed any crimes in the last 18 months. If you feel that you have a case where you can expunge your record, you could hire a criminal lawyer or you could go to the court in the county where the case was filed to fill out the necessary paperwork. 

Child abuse is a very serious crime; each state has their definition of the laws. Having any type of charge on your personal record could affect many things in your life. If you have questions, Family Lawyers on JustAnswer can provide you with customized answers.

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