When i worked in a family shelter in the late 1980s, i got a call one evening from a man associated with one family we had in one of our apartments. After i picked him up to drive him to hospital, he volunteered the information that "the little bastard was laughing at me, and i aimed a kick at him, but he dodged and i hit the door frame. I think i broke my toe." I thought about the haunted looks that the children in that "family" usually had, so when we got to the hospital, i left him with the clerk to fill out his paper work, and went over to the nurses' station and had a little chat with the charge nurse. I advised her to get a doctor in the treatment room and then ask the man to specifically describe how he got his injury. The idiot told exactly the same story there. The doctor left the room and called the police, who arrived with a member of CFS. On the testimony of the doctor, he was arrested. (I knew that we needed a doctor to witness his "confession.") As he was being taken out to the police cruiser, he loudly protested that he hadn't done anything wrong.
I can't say that the family was better off. The Mom probably went out and found another jerk of the same type. But, at least for a while, those kids did not have to live in terror.