It’s the stuff of nightmares – being falsely accused of harming a child. But while the professional’s focus is on the alleged perpetrator, those around the parent/carer often have no idea what to do to help their loved one under these terrible circumstances.
As hopeless or worrying as the situation may seem, there are many ways you can help and support someone accused of causing a non-accidental injury to a child.
10 ways to support someone accused of harming their child
- Remain calm and be the support that they dearly need at this emotionally-charged time. Let them know that you love them and want to help them.
- Help them find and engage the services of an expert solicitor, who has proven experience in this specialist area of family law – not many family solicitors practice in the field of alleged non-accidental injury. It is vital that they get the best advice and representation as quickly as possible. It is also helpful to instruct a solicitor who is either experienced in criminal law as well as family law or alternately has experienced colleagues who can assist with the police investigation.
- Research and locate useful resourcesand advice for them that will help them understand the accusations against them and the process they are now involved in.
- Assist them with the mountain of paperwork that can come with such cases by ensuring they read the documents, support them in making notes and generally helping them to be well-organised.
- Encourage them to keep a journal and write down everything they can recall, no matter how insignificant they think it is, about how their child’s injury may have been caused. In particular they should write a time-line of everyone who had care of their child in the lead-up to their injury being identified.
- Offer to contact their friends, neighbours, colleagues and family members, who may be able to provide useful evidence/information on their behalf.
- Help them to stay healthy by preparing nutritious meals, encouraging them to exercise, relax and get enough sleep.
- Consider whether you can put yourself forward as a carer for their children if they children need to be cared for temporarily and help keep the children’s lives as normal as possible.
- Be there for them whenever they need you, as shoulder to cry on, someone to confide in or simply a comforting voice at the end of the phone when they are full of worry in the middle of the night.
- And remember their case is confidential – don’t post anything about them, their children or their case on social media – not only is the potential contempt of court but it will not help their case.
Getting expert legal advice
While you are able to provide essential emotional and practical support to your loved one, it is critical that they have expert legal representation at the earliest opportunity. Edward Hayes’ partner, the Family Law Team, has a strong track record of successfully representing parents/grandparents/other carers accused of the non-accidental injury of a child and has witnessed the irreparable damage that can be caused to family life where specialist advice has been obtained too late in the day.
By remaining supportive, you can help your loved one constructively and proactively deal with the impact of such a traumatic event.
With experts in family law and false accusation Edward Hayes LLP represent parents and others in both the family and criminal courts. We cover cases across the country and can be contacted 24 hours a day on 01243 781431 (during office hours) or 0800 085 9684 out of hours or via email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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