Domestic Violence

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Domestic Violence Lawyer St. Louis | Child Abuse

When many people talk about domestic violence, they’re picturing spouse-on-spouse abuse. But domestic violence can impact the whole family and includes both spousal and child abuse. It also isn’t necessarily limited to physical violence — emotional abuse, sexual violence, and economic deprivation are all possible facets of domestic violence and child abuse.

If you’ve been accused of child abuse or domestic violence, you need a dedicated advocate on your side. Similarly, if you or your children are facing abuse at the hands of a spouse or family member, the right lawyer can help. The St. Louis domestic violence lawyers at Grant, Miller & Smith, LLC are here for you.

Child Abuse as Defined by Missouri Law

Each state has its own definition of child abuse. The definitions are similar, but it can be helpful to understand how Missouri defines child abuse. Under state law, child abuse refers to the infliction of physical, mental, or sexual injury against a child by anyone age 18 or older.

Notably, the definition of child abuse excludes the following:

While the two are similar, child abuse is not the same as child neglect. Neglect is a caretaker’s failure to provide the care needed to support a child’s physical and mental well-being in a way that leads to a significant likelihood of death or physical or sexual injury.

Help for Victims of Child Abuse and Domestic Assault

If you know or suspect that your child is the victim of abuse, it can be hard to know what to do. And if you are a victim of domestic abuse yourself, you may be afraid that reporting your abuser to the police could bring serious harm to your family. You may not have the financial resources to leave, especially if your spouse uses economic deprivation as a means of control.

Fortunately, regardless of your situation, you have some options for dealing with child abuse and domestic assault in Missouri.

Consultation With a Family Law Attorney in St. Louis

When it comes to situations involving domestic assault, child abuse, or both, there’s no one-size-fits-all advice. That’s why it’s so important to consult with a family law attorney.

The seasoned attorneys at Grant, Miller & Smith, LLC have years of experience helping victims of domestic violence. We can discuss your situation with you and help you create a plan for the safety of both you and your children.

Orders of Protection

One of the primary ways a family law attorney can help victims of child abuse and domestic violence is to secure orders of protection. Missouri allows a parent or guardian to obtain a protective order on behalf of a child. Notably, these orders may also request child support or other kinds of relief.

For example, if you are married and your spouse is abusing your child, you may be afraid of leaving the relationship because you worry that you won’t be able to support your child alone. In this case, you and your lawyer might decide to obtain an order of protection while requesting child support. If granted, that would require your spouse to stay away from your child while still providing monetary support.

You may also have other legal options. If you and your child are trapped in an abusive situation and need guidance, a domestic violence attorney in St. Louis can help.

Defense for Those Accused of Child Abuse

Missouri investigates every report of child abuse it receives. Even well-meaning people can misread signs and mistakenly report abuse where there is none. This can unfortunately lead to substantial stress for everyone in your family. Even if you are entirely innocent, it’s still wise to have a family law attorney working with you during the investigative process.

If the investigation or family assessment determines that there’s no reason to suspect abuse, no further action will be taken. However, if you are charged with child abuse, it’s vital that you retain a criminal defense attorney in St. Louis as soon as possible.

Child abuse convictions are felonies that can result in significant prison time. Some of the potential charges and the penalties you’ll face if convicted include:

Charges of child abuse are extremely serious. Don’t make the mistake of thinking the fact that you’re innocent means you’ll be acquitted.

Wrongful convictions are entirely possible, and they can have devastating effects on your family. In many cases, a conviction means you lose custody of your child — and you may lose visitation rights as well. Don’t take chances with your future and your children’s future. If you’re facing a charge of child abuse, reach out to Grant, Miller & Smith, LLC immediately.

Need a Domestic Violence Lawyer in Missouri?

Often, victims of domestic violence avoid seeking help — either because they’re afraid of the abuser finding out or they think they can’t support themselves and their children on their own. You and your children deserve a life free from abuse, and a Missouri domestic violence attorney can help you get started on a better path forward.

Similarly, If you have been accused of child abuse, you also might feel as though there’s no way to clear your name and secure your future. The right attorney can defend your innocence with a robust and personalized defense.

Whatever your family law concern may be, the compassionate team at Grant, Miller & Smith, LLC can help. Our lawyers are members of the National Academy of Family Law Attorneys (NAFLA), and we have decades of combined experience helping Missouri families overcome even seemingly insurmountable challenges. Call us or get in touch online to set up a consultation with us today!