Can a Parent Press Charges on Behalf of Their Child: Know 3 Things

My friend Karlin asked me, “can a parent press charges on behalf of their child?” She said, “yesterday, my daughter was assaulted by my neighbor’s child when I wasn’t home. Needless to say, I was very angry after I returned and found out what had happened. Can I take legal action against the assailant on behalf of my daughter?”

This type of case is very sensitive since a child is involved. If your child has been a crime victim, you may wonder if you can press charges on their behalf. The answer to this question is complicated and depends on a few factors. In this blog post, I will discuss three things you need to know before proceeding.

can a parent press charges on behalf of their child

Can a Parent Press Charges on Behalf of Their Child: Know 3 Things

#1. People can not press charges but DA:

First, you need to know that only the District Attorney of the State can press criminal charges. This means that no matter how strong your evidence might be or how upset you are about what has happened, it is not within your right as a parent to press charges against someone on behalf of your child.

Parents can file a complaint form at the local police department, depending upon the child’s age. The police will make a report and send it to the District Attorney, who will decide if they want to press charges against the responsible party. They will base this decision on the evidence presented.

#2. Parents can report if the child is a minor:

In most states, If your child is under 18, you can report the crime on their behalf. You can file a complaint form at the police department, and they can investigate the case and decide if criminal charges should be pressed. Although you can’t decide to press charges against someone on behalf of your child, you can still take steps to ensure justice is done.

In some cases, the police can also issue a restraining order against the responsible party. This can help protect your child from further harm and can give them peace of mind.

#3. Parents can’t file the report on behalf of the adult child:

In the case of an adult child, you can’t press charges on their behalf. If your adult child has been a victim of a crime, they can report it to the police themselves and can decide if they want to prosecute the responsible party.

It can be difficult as a parent to stand by when your child has been hurt, but remember that the victims can only decide to press charges.

Can parents file a police report on behalf of their child without their consent?

In the United States, parents can’t file a police report on behalf of their child without their consent if the child is 18 years or older. This is due to laws surrounding the privacy and autonomy of adults, which protect adults from parental interference in matters that are outside their control.

Minor children, however, who are under the age of 18 may have a parent or guardian file a police report on their behalf without their permission. This makes sense, considering minors lack the legal capacity to make decisions for themselves and must rely on an adult to make decisions for them in certain cases.

Though parental consent is not required by law when filing a police report on behalf of a minor, it is still recommended as involving the parent in such matters can help ensure that all relevant information is included in the report and reduce confusion and miscommunication between law enforcement and parents.

If still not convinced, watch the below video about who presses charges, the prosecutor or victim:

FAQs on Can a Parent Press Charges on Behalf of Their Child

At what age can a child be charged with assault in Australia?

In Australia, people as young as 10 can be charged with assaultive behaviors. The law establishes that criminal responsibility is attained when a child aged 10 years or over has the capacity to understand their behavior was wrong and fully comprehends the consequences of such action. They must be able to differentiate between what is wrong and right.

Furthermore, this responsibility does not vary from state to state, but it does change if the alleged offender suffers from disabilities that might impair their decision-making capacity. In those circumstances, the court must consider each case separately and determine according to those conditions.

Can police press charges without the victim’s consent in the UK?

In the United Kingdom, whether police can press charges without a victim’s consent depends largely on the severity of the crime.

In some cases, such as certain types of violent crime and sexual assault, police have the legal authority to investigate offenses and press charges even if a victim does not provide explicit consent.

Generally, though, authorities must consider what victims want, so victims of any criminal offense must ensure their wishes are registered with the police to be considered during the prosecution process.

There are also pros and cons to pressing charges without a victim’s cooperation; for example, victims might not feel comfortable going through further legal proceedings but pressing criminal charges may be necessary for seeking justice in certain extreme cases.

Can a 14-year-old be charged with assault UK?

In the UK, a 14-year-old can be charged with assault if the police and prosecution are satisfied with sufficient evidence of an offense. If a 14-year-old is charged with an assault, they may have to appear in court, although this will usually only happen in more serious cases.

In England and Wales, young offenders aged between 10 and 17 can only be formally charged with an offence if they understand the court process sufficiently.

In Scotland, 14-year-olds can face criminal proceedings in the same way as adults. However, their cases will normally be dealt with by a children’s hearing, a special court that considers the young person’s welfare and involvement in criminal behavior.

In all cases, it is important to note that proceedings taken against a 14-year-old for assault will depend on the severity of the incident, any mitigating circumstances, and how well they understand what has happened and why. A solicitor should be consulted before any court proceedings to ensure the best outcome for the young person.

What happens if you press charges on a juvenile?

If charges are pressed on a juvenile, the case will go to the courts for proceedings. Depending on the severity of the offence, the court may decide that the juvenile should be tried as an adult or remain in juvenile court. If tried as an adult, they will face all the punishments and legal consequences of being an adult under the law. 

If they remain in juvenile court, the consequences will be less severe, including community service, probation, or educational classes. Ultimately, the decision to try a juvenile as an adult is based on the unique facts of their case and whether it warrants a more serious punishment than those given in juvenile court. Regardless of the outcome, it is important to remember that all minors have rights under the law and deserve to be treated fairly.

Can I file a lawsuit on behalf of a minor?

If you are considering taking legal action involving someone under 18, understand the process for filing a lawsuit on behalf of a minor. It can be complex, as minors cannot typically bring a case against another person or business alone.

In most cases, an adult must act as the legal representative on their behalf and use their own name on any court filings. Depending on the case’s complexity, such as if they seek compensation for damages exceeding a certain amount, a court-appointed guardian may need to be appointed to proceed with a lawsuit on behalf of a minor.

Be sure to speak with an experienced attorney who can provide guidance regarding your specific situation and provide an understanding of all formalities needed to pursue a case involving someone under age 18.

Can a child call the police on their parents?

If a child is in danger or experiencing abuse, they can call the police. All states have mandatory reporting laws requiring certain professionals, like doctors and teachers, to report suspected child abuse or neglect. In some cases, a child may need to call law enforcement directly if they are in an unsafe situation and need immediate help. 

If possible, calling the police from a safe location is recommended. Families should also be aware of their state’s laws for protecting children and if a minor can contact law enforcement alone in an emergency situation.


Now, you know what you can do when your child is a victim of a crime. Generally, only the District Attorney can press criminal charges against an individual. However, if your child is under 18, you can file a complaint form at the police department and can take steps to ensure justice is done.

Only adult children can decide whether to press charges against the responsible party. It can be difficult for parents, but remember that the victims can only decide to press charges. If the child doesn’t want to report, you can’t force them.

About Shakir Ahmed

Head of the editorial team. I hold a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) from UoL. Written hundreds of articles on divorce, child custody, employment and other human rights law topics for blogs and websites worldwide. Worked 6 years as a relationship development trainer. For any communication regarding any legal matter, please feel free to email me at

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