If you have been plunged into the nightmare of being accused of physically abusing your child, you have come to the right place. The NAI department is committed to providing justice for parents who have been accused of physically harming their children.
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What Is Non-Accidental Injury
Non-accidental injury (NAI) is a term which is used to refer to many different types of physical injury or abuse, for example:
- Non-Accidental Head Injury (NAHI also sometimes referred to as Shaken Baby Syndrome and Abusive Head Trauma)
- The Triad (a term used to describe a combination of injuries suggestive of NAHI, although it is known that not all NAHI present with the triad)
- Brain Injury (e.g. bruising, bleeding or various kinds of damage to the brain)
- Eye Injury (e.g. bleeding to the eyes. This can be retinal, pre-retinal, intra retinal, sub-conjunctival etc
- Bony injury (e.g. fractures, dislocated joints etc)
- Skin injury (e.g. bruising, petechial markings, blisters, bites, burns etc)
- Fabricated or Induced Illness (also sometimes referred to a Munchausen’s Syndrome and can include poisoning)
- Infant Death
Due to our years of experience, we have developed working relationships with medical experts, who, with the Court’s permission, we can instruct to provide valuable medical opinion within proceedings as to the nature, causation and mechanism of injuries sustained by a child.
Where a NAI is suspected, there are many issues that will need to be considered including the timing/age of the alleged injury, the degree of force needed to cause it, how such an injury can be caused (the mechanism), the presentation of the child and, most importantly, the differentiation between natural causes (medical conditions), accidental causes and non-accidental causes.
When an injury has been identified, either with no explanation or with an explanation that the doctors do not accept explains the injuries sustained, it is likely that social services will become involved for the protection of the child whilst investigations are ongoing and the Local Authority will start care proceedings.
It is vital that parents seek legal advice from an experienced care solicitor who specialises in this field as soon as possible where non-accidental injury is suspected.
Some injuries to a child can show obvious signs whilst others are discovered upon further medical exploration. What is not always so obvious are the underlying reasons why the injury may have presented itself or the real circumstances which lie behind it.
Choosing the Right Expert
There are many injuries that can give the appearance of having a non-accidental origin. //Sometimes it takes more than a general paediatrician to be able to tell the difference.
Sometimes the child’s injuries themselves may give rise to suspicions on the part of medical professionals. Other times, while the injuries may be quite innocuous, the explanation given by the parents as to how the injury may have occurred may seem somewhat suspicious or may not be consistent with the injuries displayed. It is in these circumstances that you can find yourself accused of causing Non-Accidental Injury and child protection services called in to take action.
Almost any type of injury can be attributable to a Non-Accidental Injury if the parents cannot adequately explain how the injury came about: from the most minor, such as bruising; through fractures and head trauma—so-called “shaken baby syndrome”; all the way to tragic instances of infant mortality.
Parents cannot watch their children all the time. Even when they are watching, it is hard to monitor all the tumbles, bumps and mishaps that can befall a toddler. The fact that a parent cannot immediately and effectively explain away every bruise that their child has sustained is not necessarily an indicator of foul play. Sometimes, a bruise is just a bruise.
There can also be a number of congenital conditions that can make a child’s body susceptible to injury which can give the appearance of Non-Accidental Injuries having been inflicted. Sometimes it can take other experts—not just a paediatrician—to spot the symptoms and see what the facts truly are.
Fortunately, we have the experience to know that such can occur. We also have the experience to know which experts to call upon to analyse the case and show that the evidence does not point to abuse but to something less sinister.
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At Brendan Fleming Solicitors, we pride ourselves on being considered and recognised as one of the leading choices for Family Law due to our collective expertise in the area.
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