Contact: Teri Stoddard
One in 10 Falsely Accused of Abuse: Survey
Washington, DC/October 17, 2011 — One in 10 adults has been falsely accused of domestic violence, child abuse, or sexual assault, according to a survey conducted by Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE). The survey also found a strong disparity between the number of males and females falsely accused: more than three quarters of all false accusations are levied against men. Nearly seven in 10 false accusers are female.
The survey is the first of its kind to be undertaken, and uncovers distressing trends within the American abuse-reduction system.
Child abuse is the commonest false charge — about twice as many people have been falsely accused of child abuse as of domestic violence or sexual assault. In over one quarter of cases, the false allegations were made in a child custody case.
“Each year, millions of innocent Americans are falsely accused of abuse,” explains SAVE spokesman Philip W. Cook. “These false allegations can strip persons of their assets, harm their families, and ruin their lives.”
False allegations of domestic violence often lead to family break-up, which forces children into single parent households. Such children face a far greater risk of juvenile delinquency, school drop-out, and teenage pregnancy. One analysis concluded such allegations lead to $20 billion a year in increased welfare and public benefit costs: http://www.saveservices.org/downloads/False-Allegations-Harm-Families-and-Children
Although past studies have examined false abuse allegations within specified groups, no national inquiry previously had been made. To this end, SAVE commissioned the national telephone survey, which queried 20,000 households around the country during two rounds in May and September 2011. More information about the survey methods and results can be seen here: http://www.saveservices.org/falsely-accused/survey/
Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is a victim-advocacy organization working for evidence-based solutions to partner violence: www.saveservices.org.