Estate & Family Law Blog

Family law: Intervention in child abuse is possible


Child abuse in British Columbia is more prevalent than what people may think; in fact, the frequency of it happening is quite alarming. While the public is becoming more aware of the telltale signs and the procedures to report suspicious or confirmed cases to authorities under criminal laws, the problem remains in the homes where children are abused, which is often more of a family law issue. In many cases, the father is the abuser, and the mother fears reprisal and never reports it because she may not know where to seek help without jeopardizing her own safety and the safety of the children.

Child abuse happens in different ways, one of which is physical abuse. This results in physical injuries that are clearly more severe than one would expect to see from reasonable disciplinary action. This may be noticed and reported by medical personnel or teachers. Then there is sexual abuse, which sometimes involves a parent, but could be committed by trusted family members. Some abusers use sexual touching and even the physical act for gratification while others force children to watch acts of sex.

Emotional abuse happens when adults subject children to verbal attacks and other destructive behaviour. It could include rejection, exploitation and corruption, or a child could be terrorised, ignored or isolated. It is not uncommon for children to suffer neglect along with any of the above-mentioned types of abuse. This includes withholding basics from a child such as food, accommodation, clothing, medical care and supervision. Neglect may be the most frequently occurring form of abuse.

Any person in British Columbia who is trapped in circumstances in which his or her children are abused may find comfort in learning that help is available. One of the steps such a person can take is to consult with a family law lawyer who can assess the circumstances and explain the options or remedies that are available. These may include obtaining a protection order that may allow the parent and children to safely escape from the abuser and proceed with further legal steps that may resolve the issue altogether.

Source:, “Keeping Kids Safe from Abuse in BC“, Accessed on June 28, 2017

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