Who is an abused child?
A child who is caused by physical or mental injury by a parent or custodian comes under the definition of an abused child. Virginia law considers a child abused if the following has been caused by the parent or custodian to the child
- risk of death, disfigurement, or impairment;
- neglect or refusal to provide the care that is necessary for the child’s health or
- allows a sexual act to be committed against the child or
- physical or mental neglect by the parent
Under Virginia law, it is considered an abuse of unborn children when pregnant mothers abuse drugs or alcohol.
Who can make complaints of child abuse or child neglect?
If any person residing in Virginia suspects that child abuse or child neglect has occurred, the same should be reported to the appropriate division of social service of the concerned county in Virginia. The Virginia law requires that certain professions like doctors, nurses, and individuals belonging to the teaching profession should mandatorily report any instances of suspected child abuse. All investigations of child abuse are conducted by the Department of Social Services of the concerned county.
When does the court order removal of the child from home
In cases where the parent or custodian of the allegedly abused child does not co-operate with the investigation, a petition may be filed for a protective order for the child. In some cases, it is evident that is not safe for the child to remove at the parent’s or custodian’s home, in such cases, petition for the removal of the child may be filed.
What is a Preliminary Protective Order?
A preliminary protective order is ordered by the court in child abuse cases and compels the parent or custodian to do certain acts. Such orders may include an instruction to provide proper housing with hygienic conditions, to admit the child in proper schools, provide the child with required medical assistance and the protective order specifically addresses any offensive behavior of the parent by expressing prohibiting such behavior.
Can a preliminary protective order be issued ex-parte?
A preliminary protective order may be issued ex-parte without notice to parent or custodian. In such cases, the court holds a Preliminary Protective Order hearing within five days after giving notice to all interested parties and an opportunity to be heard.
What is an Emergency Removal Order?
In cases where the facts of the case indicate that the danger to the child is imminent and sufficiently severe or when there is no less drastic alternative, the court is compelled to enter an Emergency Removal Order. An emergency removal order orders removal of the child from the home. Such an order can be entered ex parte without notice to the parent or guardian. However x the court must hold a Preliminary Removal Hearing when the danger to the child is imminent and sufficiently severe or when there is no less drastic alternative after giving notice to all interested parties and providing sufficient opportunity to be heard.
Choose an experienced attorney to represent your case
It is important to obtain expert guidance for acquittal from child abuse or neglect cases. An experienced attorney will assist you in your case with the best possible defense. The key to succeeding in your case is the choice of the lawyer who represents you.