There have been a few times in my life that I have needed a lawyer, and during those times, their help was invaluable. I worked with lawyers during the custody battle for my kids, when I dissolved the partnership for my business and after I suffered an injury at work. In this blog, I plan to write about the law from a range of angles. I may share posts inspired by my personal experiences, what's popular in the news or what strikes my fancy when I'm writing. I have a daughter, Oliva. I manage a medical clinic, and I love blogging. I hope you like the results. My name is Melinda, and thanks for reading!
New criminal offenses have been introduced to improve the reporting of potential child abuse. These include offenses which apply to any adult who fails to report possible child abuse, any organisation that doesn't act on child abuse reports and any adult that befriends children or their parents with the intent of abusing these children. Here are some things you should keep in mind if you want to stay on the right side of the law.
Keep a record of any reports you make
If you do suspect abuse of a child and report it to the police or another person such as school principal or doctor, it's important to keep a record of your conversation. Reporting doesn't need to be done in writing, so this can be a simple as taking a note of the time and nature of the conversation you have had. If you send a letter you should keep a copy of the letter and note the date that you sent it.
Report multiple times if needed
If you suspect a child has been abused and make a report, but it does not appear to be actioned, it is wise to make a secondary report to another person. Not only does this fulfil your legal obligations, but also it's a sensible way to help keep the child safe.
Remove the alleged abuser if you have authority
If you have the authority you should immediately remove the alleged abuser from contact with the child whilst you investigate the allegation. This could include placing them on leave with pay or in a non-child contact role.
Use sensible precautions when befriending children
If you befriend children and their families, for example if you take up a leadership role in the Scouts or another community organisations, it's sensible to have another adult present when you interact with the child. It's also a good idea to make sure that you discuss any pictures that you take of the child with the parents and do not have any correspondence with the child that they keep secret from their parents. If in doubt, it's useful to consider how the actions you are taking could be perceived by a third party.
If you find yourself accused of any of these crimes, you should engage a criminal defense lawyer who can prove that you have acted with the best intentions. The more evidence you can provide of your innocence, the better your chances of avoiding conviction.Share