Showing the pictures to your attorney is not considered “reporting.” You have to bring those pictures and documents to the attention of DSS and the police department. And, it has to be current proof, not last summer’s pictures and documents.
My step-daughter told us what her Mom DID and what the live-in boyfriend DID, and DSS basically smirked on their way out the door… if it’s not current, on-going abuse, what the parent is DOING at the moment, then you’re pretty much out of luck.
Just keep building your case and be a calm, well-spoken reporter to DSS. Call for every incident and keep your emotions out of it. If you get irate & irrational, they won’t take you seriously. Continue the reporting and documenting as if you were a legal professional - keep the “concerned-for-my-child-mother” side of you out of it. You’ll be more well-received if you can be seen as someone distancing themselves from the personal side of things, rather than a Mom on a vindictive personal crusade. (Right or wrong, that is how many repeat-reporting parents are perceived.)
with all this evedence, have you consitered filing for full custody? Maybe DSS could testify on your behalf?
To answer the question previously asked - yes I did report this to DSS and the police and DSS did come out and take pictures of it and made a report on it back in July. DSS and the police have said that they will not do anything unless it is more serious than just bruises. He would have to come home with broken bones or dismangled, but my question isn’t about DSS or the police or how many times I turn my son in. The question has to do with the Child abuse prevention act, why DIDN’T my attorney mention it and why I am possibly facing jail time if I stop visitation again because of abuse?
Actually, I used to have full custody, until my ex wanted joint custody and my attorney forced me into signing that over to him.
DSS forced me and my son to move 2 1/2 hours away from my ex - because my ex is so dangerous. Now DSS does very little for me being that the case originated there, but I live here. It wont be until I get the case transferred that DSS here in this county will do anything for me. My county DSS has their hands tied and the county there is too lazy to really even “wipe their own butts”, if you know what I mean.
Your question is about why you would be facing jail time, fines and contempt charges for stopping visitations? And why didn’t your attorney mention the child abuse act? Your attorney didn’t mention this Child Abuse Prevention Treatment Act because it has nothing to do with the issue of whether you are in contempt of the court order. You stated that “Any individual reporting suspected child abuse is granted absolute immunity from criminal and civil liability resulting from the reported incident”…this means that you can not be brought up on slander charges or anything else for reporting your ex for child abuse. You can not be held as an accessory after the fact that you knew about it and did not report it. Because yes, it is illegal to KNOW about child abuse and not report it. It does not mean that you can take the legal decision to take away his visitations yourself…the court has to decide this.[V] Sort of you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t scenario…
You are possibly facing contempt charges because you have not followed a court order not be cause you reported your ex for child abuse. If you want to stop visitations then you should have your attorney file for a protection order granting you full legal and physical custody with supervised or restricted visitations, so that you can legally refuse visitations. There still may have to be a hearing, but you have proof and investigations on going…
Stepmother - There was a hearing and I was told that if I ever stop visitation again for any reason - then I will face the contempt charges, jail time, fines and other attorney fees. My attorney, nor his attorney, even looked at the proof and evidence of abuse that my child suffered. The court order now states the above information. So if my son ever comes back with broken bones or is dismangled, then DSS and the police said they “possibly” might do something. I did and have reported my ex on numerous occasions, but I get the same old run around - the abuse isn’t serious enough! Call us when it is more serious. The reason I did stop the visitation was due to abuse and not for any other reason. My son came home from a week long visit with his dad covered in bruises. That is the reason I stopped the visitation. How can I send my child, knowing that his dad beats him in the face and no one will take in to consideration how aggressive his father is and how hard the beatings are?
So the next time there is abuse from his dad towards my son, I need to go to the court and ask for “immunity” from the courts on the court order? But you see everytime I report him to DSS and I have proof that there is abuse, my ex denies it and DSS no longer does there “complete” investigation. DSS keeps telling me because I do not actually see the abuse going on, that I have no proof. But if when my son leaves here at 3pm and I have witnesses that state there is no bruises or injuries to him before he leaves and he comes back and is loaded with bruises, who is to blame? It surely won’t be ex, because when DSS asks him, he denies it. So meanwhile a little boy continues to get beat in the face and on his body because no one wants to make the effort to investigate.
[i]Originally posted by stepmother[/i] [br]Your question is about why you would be facing jail time, fines and contempt charges for stopping visitations? And why didn't your attorney mention the child abuse act? Your attorney didn't mention this Child Abuse Prevention Treatment Act because it has nothing to do with the issue of whether you are in contempt of the court order. You stated that "Any individual reporting suspected child abuse is granted absolute immunity from criminal and civil liability resulting from the reported incident"...this means that you can not be brought up on slander charges or anything else for reporting your ex for child abuse. You can not be held as an accessory after the fact that you knew about it and did not report it. Because yes, it is illegal to KNOW about child abuse and not report it. It does not mean that you can take the legal decision to take away his visitations yourself...the court has to decide this.[V] Sort of you're damned if you do and damned if you don't scenario.... You are possibly facing contempt charges because you have not followed a court order not be cause you reported your ex for child abuse. If you want to stop visitations then you should have your attorney file for a protection order granting you full legal and physical custody with supervised or restricted visitations, so that you can legally refuse visitations. There still may have to be a hearing, but you have proof and investigations on going...
[i]Originally posted by blondie1976[/i] [br]So the next time there is abuse from his dad towards my son, I need to go to the court and ask for "immunity" from the courts on the court order?
Stepmother - Yes, DSS has talked with my son (it was just my son and the lady from DSS) - and he has said that daddy hurt him, and showed DSS the bruises on his body. I was sitting outside the bedroom door (I don’t trust DSS further than I can throw). My son plainly stated that daddy hurt him and I NEVER coached him to say it either. And the bruises on his body were handprints (my ex has long big hands and they measured up to his hands).
Whether it was his father or not, my son was still in his father’s care. My ex’s attorney has advised him to deny everything. Because when I first started calling DSS, my ex said that he did this or did that, and now nothing is his fault. In fact, my ex has even admitted to courts, DSS, police, attorneys that he WILL discipline my son anyway he wants too, even if it means beating him in the face.
BUT my son is in his dad’s care and it is his responsibility to tell me or DSS what happened whether it was his fault or not. Yes my son does tell me what led up to his dad hitting him and how daddy hit him.
The lady that told me not to allow my son to go to his dad’s house, no longer works for DSS.
The problem is working with two different counties of DSS - the county that my ex lives in - has over 15 different dss cases, they know what type of person my ex is and I think they are just tired of hearing the same ole same ole story from him. I don’t EVER think a complete investigation has ever been done. Not only that, they are looking at an ex wife trying to get back at an ex husband. In fact, that is what my ex husband put in his last letter to me.
Me trying to find another attorney has not been easy to do. I just finally paid the last attorney the full bill. The next thing on my list is getting the case transferred to this county. But I have to hire an attorney in the area of the case to get my case transferred to my county that my son and I have been living in for almost 3 years.
I have already talked to about half a dozen attorneys in that area and they have refused to take my case because I have already had an attorney on the case, and I refuse to go with the attorney I had. He has caused me tooo many problems and gotten me in a mess that has been hard to undo.
The Child Abuse Prevention act is not something that I am familiar with. It is not generally something that is relevant to civil custody cases. In civil court, the Judge will make a custody determination based on the best interests of the child. This will take into account all issues, including abuse. I believe the act you are quoting refers to individuals other than parents, such as teachers, doctors, and other child care personnel, it protects them from being sued by parents in the event that they do report an act of abuse.
Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.256.1665 direct fax
10925 David Taylor Drive, Suite 100
Charlotte, North Carolina 28262
704.644.2831 main voice
704.307.4595 main fax
1829 East Franklin Street, Bldg 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
919.321.0780 main phone
919.787.6668 main fax
The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.
Back in July, my son came home with a body full of bruises from his abusive father. I have a court order that states that my son has to go, even though attorneys, dss, police etc know that the abuse still continues. When I contacted DSS and the police about the abuse, I also stopped visitation until the investigation was complete. I also sent a letter to my ex that visitation would not re-start until the investigation was complete.
My attorney was also aware of me stopping the visitation. I was also told by DSS that if I allowed my son to go to his dad’s house knowing that I know about the ongoing abuse, I could lose my son and neither my ex nor I would have my son. I chose to stop visitation until the investigation was complete.
My ex finally sued me for not abiding by the court order. My attorney did say he would represent me, but I had better have a good “excuse” as to why I stopped visitation, because I can face 30 days in jail, contempt charges, $500 fine and also have to pay my ex’s attorney bills. When I showed him up to 10 different documents and pictures of bruises on my son’s body, my attorney told me that it wasn’t enough proof. Now the court order states that if I ever cancel visitation - no matter what the reason is, I will face the above charges.
I am currently taking a Medical Legal Issues class and one of the subjects in my text book is the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act. It states in my book that “Any individual reporting suspected child abuse is granted absolute immunity from criminal and civil liability resulting from the reported incident.” After that being said, why did my attorney not bring that above “Act” to my attention and why did I or will I possibly face charges next time, esp when I have evidence and proof of abuse. If I don’t report child abuse then I could possibly be charged with a misdemeanor.
Any advice would be greatly appreciated,