Summary: Research shows 40-80% of all abuse claims are false.

Domestic Violence

  • A study of couples involved in custody disputes found that domestic violence allegations were made in 55% of the cases. Of these allegations, 59% could not be substantiated by the courts as true (1).
  • An analysis of domestic violence restraining orders issued in 2006 in Campbell County, West Virginia concluded 81% were unnecessary or false (2).
  • It is estimated that about 60% of the 2-3 million restraining orders issued annually are unnecessary or false. This translates into 1.2-1.8 million persons who are wrongfully accused of domestic violence each year under civil law (3).
  • Only 30% of persons arrested for domestic violence are convicted of the offense (4). The 70% of persons not convicted of the offense can be viewed as representing the number of persons wrongfully detained each year.*

Child Abuse

  • The Canadian Incidence Study of Reported Child Abuse and Neglect analyzed data from 7,672 child maltreatment investigations. Among the 798 cases of alleged sexual abuse, only 38% were substantiated  (5).


  • A major study in a Midwestern city over the course of nine years found 41% of all rape claims were false (6).
  • An analysis of police records at two large state universities found 50% of the rapes reported to campus police were determined to be false (7).
  • An Air Force study evaluated 556 rape allegations, concluding 60% of the accusations were false (8).
  • Since 1989, more than 250 persons convicted of rape have been exonerated and freed as a result of post-conviction DNA testing (9).

 * This number may be an underestimate because the great majority of convictions are the result of a plea bargain. In many cases, a defendant who is innocent agrees to plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge in order to avoid the possibility of incarceration.

** See also: Greer E. The truth behind legal dominance feminism’s “two percent false rape claim” figure. Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review. Vol. 33, April 2000. 


(1)   Johnston J et al. Allegations and substantiations of abuse in custody-disputing families. Family Court Review, Vol. 43, No. 2, 2005.

(2)   Foster BP. Analyzing the cost and effectiveness of governmental policies. Cost Management Vol. 22, No. 3, 2008.

(3)   Stop Abusive and Violent Environments. The use and abuse of restraining orders. Rockville, MD. 2011.

(4)   Garner JH, Maxwell CD. Prosecution and conviction rates for intimate partner violence. Criminal Justice Review Vol. 34, No. 1, 2009. Table 2.

(5)   Trocme N, Bala N. False allegations of abuse and neglect when parents separate. Child Abuse and Neglect, Vol. 29, 2005, Table 3.

(6)   Kanin E. False Rape Allegations. Archives of Sexual Behavior February 1994.

(7)   Kanin E. False Rape Allegations. Archives of Sexual Behavior February 1994.

(8)   McDowell CP. False Allegations.  Forensic Science Vol. 11, No. 4, December 1985.

(9)   Innocence Project. Accessed May 20, 2011.