If you are wrongly accused of child abuse, you must take an active role in your defense. Do not assume that the justice system will exonerate an innocent person—a diagnosis of abuse by a medical professional is accepted as fact by police and social services, who will interpret all evidence through that filter.
You will need an attorney, a complete set of medical records, and one or more outside experts to ferret out the true source of the findings.
The families of children with Mitochondrial Disease, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and other difficult-to-diagnose conditions are especially vulnerable to accusations of abuse. In response to a real problem, MitoAction has published these guidelines for their accused members: http://www.mitoaction.org/responding-adverse-allegations. The advice is sound and largely applicable to any abuse allegations.
If you have been accused of infant abuse by shaking, see the resources page on the On SBS blog, http://onsbs.com/, and make sure your attorney sees these key journal articles:
- Shaken Baby Syndrome, Abusive Head Trauma, and Actual Innocence: Getting It Right
- The Next Innocence Project: Shaken Baby Syndrome and the Criminal Courts
Defense attorneys handling these cases should consider investing in this valuable analysis of shaken baby syndrome in the courtroom, The Forensic Unreliability of the Shaken Baby Syndrome.
PIF has produced a fact sheet about shaken baby syndrome, SBSFactSheet2016, which you are free to download, reproduce, and distribute.
Tragically, some child abuse experts diagnose any unexplained fracture in a baby as abuse. In fact, fractures in infancy can have a range of non-traumatic origins, including prematurity (bone mineralization ramps up during the last trimester), vitamin deficiency (doctors now recognize a resurgence of rickets), and a number of metabolic disorders.
Whatever the source of your medical misdiagnosis, you can find advice and support at the Amanda Truth Project, http://theamandatruthproject.com/. You can also leave questions in the comment box below and someone will get back to you—let us know if your note is intended as a private message.
The site http://ebmsiresearchgroup.weebly.com/ has a library of relevant literature.
One writer who saw a relative convicted in a shaken baby case posts her literature review on the web and offers a book for families falsely accused on shaking, at http://www.susancanthony.com/res/sbs/accusd.html
There is an on-line family support group on Facebook, at https://www.facebook.com/groups/60039803369/permalink/10151877404948370/ You can see only the cover page when you first visit; there is a button for applying to join.
Christiane Joy Allison has published a charming children’s book, Why Can’t Uncle Come Home?, that offers comfort to children affected by the arrest of a relative.
In 2014, law professor and former child abuse prosecutor Prof. Deborah Tuerkheimer published her call for re-evaluation of all shaking convictions, Flawed Convictions: “Shaken Baby Syndrome” and the Inertia of Injustice.