False Accusations of Domestic Violence: Easier Than You May Believe
When one person makes an accusation, check to be sure he himself is not the guilty one. Sometimes it is those whose case is weak who make the most clamor. –Piers Anthony
False accusations for domestic violence occur more often than most may give credit to. Part of the problem is simply that domestic violence laws operate on the belief that any conflict with a partner should be brought to the attention of the law. This even includes minor cases and as a result, many of the policies we have in the U.S are such that they can actually promote being wrongly accused of domestic violence. What follows here are a few reasons why false accusations of domestic violence occur so often.
Problems That Allow For Falsely Accused Domestic Violence Cases
Definition of Domestic Violence: One of the biggest issues is that the law defines domestic violence very broadly and vaguely. Now this is not to say it isn’t important to cover every area where domestic violence can occur, but that these areas should be more clearly defined as they are often open to interpretation. For example domestic violence includes: intimidation, stalking, economic deprivation, throwing objects, trespassing, and harassment to name a few. How are any of these clear signs that domestic violence has occurred? But if any of these have been claimed to occur, this leads us to our next problem: the lack of evidence needed for proof.
Evidence Not Needed: Domestic violence service providers, law personnel, and prosecutors are all instructed to always believe the victim. Now this is obviously so that no real crime committed is left unresolved. But this is also the case when no real evidence or proof of violence or abuse is present. You imagine that you are innocent until proven guilty, but that isn’t how domestic violence cases play out. If you are accused of domestic violence, it would seem more like you are guilty until proven innocent. Now without proof or evidence you will not be found guilty by a court or jury but that certainly doesn’t diminish the problems and difficulties you’ll face until your innocence is proven.
Victim Training and Advocates: Domestic violence programs hire “victim advocates” who train and coach people with minor problems on how to present and embellish their stories. They do this in order to increase their chances of finding a conviction, or in the least receive a restraining order. So in essence, verbal arguments that have occurred can all of a sudden turn into harassment, coercion, intimidation, or having used fear based tactics. Imagine how many unrealistic things are said when two people are arguing. Now imagine those things being taken literally and used against you in court. It’s easy to say something was said in the heat of the moment but actually didn’t mean anything. All of your words and actions will be studied by these advocates, and prosecutors, to make a stronger case for domestic violence.
Incentives for Making False Accusations: To make matters worse, it’s not only possible to be falsely accused of domestic violence, but there are a great number of benefits received for falsely accusing someone. When a person is defined as a victim, they are eligible and entitled to a great number of legal benefits. When a restraining order is in place, the victim has sole use and possession of the place of residence. The victim typically receives custody over the children. If the victim needed therapy, whether mental or physical, they are entitled to reimbursement for those expenses. Lawyer fees are also often reimbursed. Finally, if they are deemed a victim, they are entitled to low cost housing and other welfare services such as food stamps.
In the end, a person has plenty of reasons, if they need them, to falsely accuse another person of domestic violence. Now again, if someone has been truly abused, and the accusations are right and correct, then these privileges are more than deserved. However, you can see how some of them alone give plenty of reasons to falsely accuse someone of domestic violence.
Further Incentives for Making False Accusations: Probably the biggest incentive for making a false accusation, and one which should probably be reconsidered the most by law makers, is the fact that prosecutors are reluctant to charge domestic violence perjurers with a crime. Even when someone knows what they are doing is 100% wrong, and that they are lying to get another person in trouble, they have no fear of legal recourse.
Any person can make a false accusation of domestic violence and face no consequences for that action. The reason is you don’t want to prevent victims from coming forward, and that is understood, but leaving the law open so widely doesn’t help those who are being falsely accused.
At The Clark Law Firm, we understand that the law can be a tricky course to navigate. If you have been falsely accused and are in need of a domestic violence defense attorney, be sure to contact Phil Clark immediately. He has the experience and skill needed to assist you in these troubling times.