There is no simple answer to this question as clearly every situation is different and it will depend on your individual circumstances as to what you should be advised to do. The following is merely intended as guidance as to what you could do depending on your situation.
If there are children in your home then clearly your primary concern should be to ensure that they are not at risk whilst the accusation is investigated. If you do not have children in your home, then you will need to make a decision about whether you wish your relationship to continue whilst the accusations are investigated.
Talk through your emotions
If your partner is accused of child abuse, it is likely that you will be experiencing many different emotions such as shock, anger, hatred, guilt, disbelief and confusion. It is very difficult to come to terms with the fact that a person that you are in a relationship with and trust could be accused of such a horrific crime. However, you cannot blame yourself if you are taken in by an abuser and particularly if you have children, you must remain strong for their sake. You should ensure that your child has someone to talk to openly and may wish to seek help yourself. In the first instance, your GP should be able to assist you with this and refer you for appropriate treatment.
Ask for a Police Check
If you are concerned about the accusations and your partner has contact with your child, you can ask your local police to check to see if your partner has a record of child sex offences or other offences that could mean that they are a danger to your child. There is now a Child Sex Offender Scheme known as Sarahs Law under which you ask your local police to check to see if an individual has a record of child sex offences or other offences that might mean that they are a danger to your child. You will need to visit your local police station to make an application and provide the police with an explanation as to why you wish the person to be checked. The police will normally inform you if the outcome of the check shows that the person is a potential risk. It is likely that you will be asked not to share the information provided with other people who are unaware of the risk. Please see www.parentsprotect.co.uk for more information.
Ask for Assistance with Rehousing
If there is a risk that your child could be being abused, you can ask your local authority housing department to help with rehousing. If you do this, the local authority may make enquiries about the abuse, even if you do not want them to. Depending on the circumstances your local authority may be able to rehouse your family, rehouse the abuser, or rehouse your child.
Seek Immediate Legal Advice
Solicitors usually specialise in different areas of law and you may need to see more than one solicitor, depending on your situation and what you are looking to achieve. For example, a family law solicitor will be able to advise you on the possibility of getting an injunction against your partner if you/your children are at risk and can advise you on legal measures that you could take to prevent your partner from staying in your home. They can assist you also with issues such as child contact whilst the matter is ongoing.
If you believe that your partner is innocent, then you should encourage him to seek advice from a criminal law solicitor immediately. He should be advised that it is in his best interests to always have a solicitor present during any police interviews whether he is innocent or not. There are various organizations that can provide support if your partner has been falsely accused of abuse. Please see www.false-allegations.org.uk for more information.
If your own child has been abused then they are entitled to seek compensation from the abuser and/or from the Government (through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme) for the injuries they have suffered. This can assist with attaining a sense of justice and help pay for the costs of therapy and treatment to help the child recover and can be the first step towards rebuilding you/your child’s future.
Contact our specialist child abuse solicitors if you want to speak to us directly about a case.