Child Sexual Abuse and Custody

The sexual abuse allegations against Woody Allen by his daughter Dylan Farrow have made national news recently. Dylan alleges Allen sexually abused her as a child. Allen denies it and states that Dylan’s mother, Mia Farrow, manipulated her to make up the allegations.

A study by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts found that abuse allegations occur in less than 2% of all divorce cases (putting to rest the idea that this is a common ploy used in custody cases). In the cases in which child abuse was alleged, 48% of the time the accusations were brought by mothers against fathers and 19% of the time by mothers against stepfathers. Fathers accused mothers 6% of the time and accused stepfathers 16% of the time.

Woody Allen alleges that the accusations in this case were false and were intentionally brought by Mia Farrow to influence their custody case. According to the same Family and Conciliation Courts study, intentionally false reports are made in about 5% to 8% of all cases in which abuse is alleged.

The American Prosecutor’s Research Institute has created a list of signs that a report of abuse may be intentionally false. These include:

  • A parent who is more focused on being vindictive towards the parent than on the harm that has been done to the child.
  • The parent is unwilling to consider other explanations or reasons for the child’s behavior, statements, and symptoms.
  • The parent is unwilling to allow the child to be interviewed without being present and prompts the child with what to say when asked about the alleged abuse.
  • A parent who wants the child to testify and shows no concern about how testifying might impact the child.
  • If the abuse is unfounded or unproven, the parent looks for other professionals who might find a different outcome or result.

If abuse or neglect is a factor in your divorce or custody case, call DeTorres & DeGeorge today for professional advice and representation you can trust.

Children & Divorce Guide
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