Hearsay of a Child Victim of Family Violence

Texas amended the Family Code in 2011 to allow for statements or testimony of children in protective order cases.  This is a big shift in Texas law and it may make it easier for someone to get a protective order, when the only witness to the violence has been a child or the victim and a child.

The new statute says that kn a hearing on an application for a protective order, a statement made by a child 12 years of age or younger that describes alleged family violence against the child “is admissible as evidence in the same manner that a child’s statement regarding alleged abuse against the child is admissible under Section 104.006 in a suit affecting the parent-child relationship”.  That means that a child can testify that they have suffered from abuse if the judge finds that the “time, content, and circumstances of the statement provide sufficient indications of the statement’s reliability” and

(1) the child testifies or is available to testify at the proceeding in court or in any other manner provided for by law; or

(2) the court determines that the use of the statement in lieu of the child’s testimony is necessary to protect the welfare of the child

Tex. Fam. Code 84.006