What to Do if You Suspect Your Child Is Being Abused

A Dedicated Chicago Child Custody Attorney Can Help You

It is an uncomfortable thought for many Illinois parents to consider, but statistics show that your child is more likely to be abused by someone he or she knows rather than by a stranger. You may notice that your child seems reluctant to visit with the other parent, or may return from the other parent with strange marks or bruises on him or her. What can you do as the child’s parent to protect your child from suspected abuse at the hands of the child’s other parent or someone living with the child’s other parent?

Early Detection Is Key to Preventing and Stopping Child Abuse

Some parents unwittingly allow child abuse and mistreatment to continue to occur because they cannot believe the other parent would mistreat their child in such a manner. As a result, they miss key warning signs that suggest child abuse may be present such as:

  • Reports from the child of abuse or mistreatment;
  • Noticeable changes in the child’s attitude and/or demeanor;
  • Unexplainable or suspicious marks, bruises, or welts on the child’s body;
  • Fear, crying, or hostility in the child whenever the other parent is mentioned or when it is the other parent’s visitation time; and
  • Decreased performance in school or a loss of interest in hobbies.

Some of these signs may appear in the absence of any abuse: therefore, it is important to maintain a good relationship with your child so that you can better understand if the child’s behavior or appearance is unusual and cause for concern.

I Think the Other Parent Is Abusing My Child – What Can I Do?

If you suspect abuse is occurring, there are certain actions you can take to protect your child. It is important that you act quickly so as to prevent further harm from occurring to your child:

  • Speak with your Illinois family law attorney: If you have custody orders granting the other parent visitation time, speak with your attorney about modifying those orders and/or seeking emergency ex parte orders or other court orders modifying the parenting plan.
  • Consider having a doctor look at strange or suspicious marks: If the child is bruised or bears unusual marks, photograph those marks and have a doctor review the marks in person before they disappear. Your doctor may be able to determine when the marks occurred (by looking for signs of healing) and/or tell you how the marks may have been inflicted.
  • Consider contacting law enforcement and/or the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services: These agencies will likely investigate any credible allegation of abuse, speaking with potential witnesses and gathering evidence. The employees of these agencies can be persuasive witnesses if you need to have a hearing to modify the parenting plan.

Help During Confusing and Frightening Times

It is natural to feel confused, angry, and panicked when you believe your child is being abused. At Arami Law, your Chicago family law firm, we can help you understand the legal steps necessary to protect your child from further abuse at the hands of the other parent. Contact us at (312) 584-6355 for experienced and caring legal advice and assistance.

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