One of the more difficult and disturbing cases attorneys have to deal with are child abuse cases. Members of the DCF (Department of Children and Families) have been quoted as saying that child abuse cases are “extremely difficult”. This is mainly due to the difficulty of “predicting human behavior”, as well as considering what is “crossing the line” when it comes to being a strict parent. For every case involving the DCF possibly missing the signs of potential child abuse, there are cases where they might have assumed too much.
After NFL superstar Adrian Peterson was arrested for abusing his 4 year-old son, the media became obsessed with this subject matter. And rightfully so, considering it’s a tough subject to discuss and there should be more dialogue on child abuse throughout this country. But it doesn’t solve the real issue…how do you define child abuse?
According to Peterson his brand of “tough love” is just how he was raised. Even after his brush with the law, Peterson still talks about the frequent “whippings” his father administered and how it molded him. “I have always believed that the way my parents disciplined me has a great deal to do with the success I have enjoyed as a man,” Peterson said in a statement released last August.
The best way for a defense attorney to defend a parent or guardian accused of child abuse is to understand how devastating the consequences can be. The stigma attached to child abuse can lead to long-lasting family trouble. There are many reasons why a parent might be innocent of child abuse charges. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that there are false allegations involved. Or that the child’s injuries were sustained due to an accident, or it was someone else who may have abused the child physically. Even the parent’s right to discipline their child, the way they want, can be a solid defense.