How should I approach the situation about my child witnessing domestic violence between her mom and stepfather?

Asked about 2 years ago - Chicago, IL

my 8 year old child has told me during visits.that she witness her mom & stepfather have physical & verbal altercations more than 1x & he scares her & that he slaps her(my child) in the back of her head for wetting herself. I called DCFS once before because she came over with bruises which she stated that her stepfather did but when they went to the house she wouldnt tell them what she said to me because she was questioned with the mom and step father present. So it looked as if i called them out of spite there is already an evaluation(forensics) that has been ordered (finally) I've tried discussing things with the mother but of course she deny's it. how serious does the court take children witnessing domestic violence and how should I approach this? Can I file a motion for emergency custo

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Judy A. Goldstein

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . Hire an attorney. You can seek an order of protection for your child. Or you can seek custody. That will be up to you and your lawyer and will depend upon the specific facts of the case. Do not waste any more time online. Speak to counsel in person - and soon!

  2. Jenet Gonzalez Pequeno

    Contributor Level 11

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    Answered . Forensics has been ordered? Are you in the court system already? If so, what you will file is dependent on what has been ordered. If there was a custody judgment entered prior, then you will file for a modification of custody. However, there are strict standards of proof if you are doing this within 2 years of the entry of the judgment. If there is no custody judgment, then you can file for custody whenever. I always recommend to my client's when there is no custody determination, if there are bruises and you suspect abuse, that it is preferred to take the child to his/her doctor regarding suspected abuse. The doctors are mandated reporters and the statements children make to them in the course of treatment are exceptions to the hearsay rule which would ordinarily block such statements from coming into court. You need to see a lawyer and you need to do so quickly. Each day that goes by is just more time that she can say that things have cooled down.

    Good luck!
    Jene't

  3. Joshua G. Schiffer

    Pro

    Contributor Level 12

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    Answered . I am only licensed in Georgia, but down ehre the Staate takes juvenile exposure to domestic violence very seriously and even has a criminal charge associated with that situation called Cruelty to Children ion the 3rd degree.

    I would assume that IL has strong laws such as we do and a LOCAL attorney will be able to walk you through the system. I would find an attorney through your friends and family that has experience in both Criminal issues and Family Law, as there are a variety of paths you can take to protect the child.
    Be sure to act sooner rather than later. There are numerous studies that show negative ramifications for children raised in households where abuse exists. It can be a lifelong issue and you need to act for the good of the child.
    If you cannot afford an attorney there are also numerous social service programs that should be able to help.
    Good luck!

    Hey Look, A Disclaimer. And it is kind of witty. Kind of. To wit: Information Provided SHOULD NOT be relied... more

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