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Parenting Issues: False Accusations of Child
It is a sad fact that child abuse happens every
day. It is also the reason so many countries employ protection
services for children. Unfortunately, many of the agencies
responsible for protecting children don't do a very good job. We
often hear about children harmed while in "care," but the part we
don't hear about as often is the many parents that are falsely
accused of abuse or neglect.
In the U.S., there are approximately three million
reports of maltreatment each year. This number is often reported
as three million actual cases of abuse, even though over two
million of these reports are consistently unsubstantiated, and
this number has remained fairly consistent over the past decade.
This information is documented by the National Clearinghouse for
Child Abuse and Neglect Information. If over two thirds of the
cases reported are unproven, that tells us that there are a large
number of false accusations.
One reason for this problem is the fact that
reports can be made anonymously. Even though there are laws
against making false reports, how are parents going to pursue
action against someone, when the reporter's identity is kept from
Another problem is mandated reporting.
Professionals that work with children are required by law to
report every suspicion that something might be wrong. They can
lose their jobs, their licenses, be fined, and be brought up on
criminal charges if they fail to report. Because of this, many of
them over-report. They would rather report every scraped knee than
take the chance of being held liable.
Most parents assume that their innocence will be
proven during an investigation. They believe they have nothing to
worry about because they don't abuse or neglect their children.
Unfortunately, there are many families that have been torn apart
by abuse investigations, even though the parents are innocent.
There are several parents' rights groups and
family rights organizations working hard to make these laws and
agencies more family friendly. If you find yourself the victim of
false allegations, search for one of these groups online to find
help and support.