You cannot protect your children from all the dangers they will encounter in life, and all the difficult situations. But you can certainly take steps to protect them when you suspect harm coming from within the family or people close to it during visitation.
Accusing someone of child abuse is a big deal, however, so do be thoughtful before you accuse your ex or their new mate of abuse. But don’t wait until someone is seriously hurt. How do you achieve that balance? Let’s examine.
Suspected Child Abuse
There are a few ways that you might become aware of abuse by an ex-spouse or someone close to them. Maybe your kid comes home from a visit with marks on their body or behaves unusually. Maybe the kid says something.
It could be hard to tell what exactly is going on in a situation like this because both kids and adults are dealing with new and difficult circumstances of divorce and there are may be many reasons for the psychological changes or weird behavior. It is up to you to talk to your child and let them know they can trust you with the truth.
Abuse accusations are very serious and cause upheaval in the lives of everyone involved. Still, there are far too many cases of child abuse by adults close to the family to ignore the possibility of wrongdoing. For example, just this week, a two-year-old boy was admitted to the hospital with a small octopus lodged in his throat, and it wasn’t the family pet — the mother’s boyfriend was arrested for suspected abuse.
If you do suspect abuse during visitation, you can turn to the court to modify your arrangement accordingly. Courts will interfere only minimally when parents raise no issues, but the standard a court uses to determine visitation and other child-related matters is the best interests of the child. If it is shown that abuse is taking place or that the child may be in danger, a court can order that visitation happen in a designated location, in public places, or even in special facilities created for situations like these.
Custody and visitation are decided when a divorce occurs but the decision is not necessarily final — as circumstances change or new information becomes apparent, you can apply to modify the arrangement. In an emergency situation, call the police and address the abuse immediately.