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How do you legally classify a child being forced to conceal domestic violence?

Seattle, WA |

Domestic violence is a crime. A child witnesses domestic violence. The custodial parent forces the child to conceal the act from the non-custodial parent. Witness tampering 9A.72.120 seems to apply to ongoing investigations. If this is the case, then what laws protect witnesses who are coerced to conceal a crime and prevent it from being reported in the first place?

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

When a person whether it be an adult or a child is coerced to conceal a crime it is a tragedy to today world but it is the reality that we live in. There isn't law per se that protect an adult or child from the influence of others except the normal ones we have (like tampering with a witness) and the conscience of the people involved. Good Luck and pray to Heavenly Father for help here .

Patrick Owen Earl

Patrick Owen Earl

Posted

I just noticed that there is a box to click and talk with you about this situation. Normally I would do that but 1) i have to leave my office in a few minute to get one of my kids from dance and 2) you are on the coast and I live in Moses Lake, WA so you will probably want to talk to an attorney from over there. I am some 2 1/2 - 3 hours away from you.

Posted

Although there may not be an applicable crime to charge the custodial parent with, you may have a contempt case against this parent. Depending on what type of and the frequency of the domestic violence, you may also have grounds for modification of your current parenting plan. I suggest you confer with an experienced family law attorney in private about this and discuss your options.

Posted

It sounds as if your disputes with the ex remain ongoing. I am sorry to hear that. This will only hurt the child in the end. How do you know that the child witnessed a crime? How old is the child? Children under 10 are of questionable competence, i.e., ability to know right from wrong, fact from fiction. So, ask yourself, how important is it to get the child involved in these disputes. Only you are in a position to judge the situation and protect the child.
At your service,

Asker

Posted

You're right. There is an ongoing dispute with the ex. She is 12, and the massive change in her behavior suggested she was in extreme distress months before she finally opened up to me. So ask yourself, how dangerous is it to leave a child in the custody of a parent who described their own abusive upbringing years before the child was born, has to some degree perpetuated those abuses and is now teaching their child that when she is in distress it's not ok to seek safety with a concerned adult or even their own parent. Do you ever wonder why so many women put up with abusive partners until it's too late? Your questions cast doubt when a parent may already be torn about this situation. It seems to me that almost any ongoing court action would make the child's life easier all around when the parents are more likely to be on their best behavior. If the opposite is true and any parent is willing to retaliate against the child even during ongoing proceedings then the case absolutely should be in court where there is some slight possibility that the biased system in this state might actually do some good.

Asker

Posted

Of course I meant my daughter. And for my response, I apologize, I have spoken to too many attorneys that make too many judgements and assumptions just before they "figure it all out." Thanks for the input.