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False Accusations

October 21, 2011 permalink

A tenth of Americans have been falsely accused of abuse. The most common accusation is child abuse. A press release and survey results from SAVE, Stop Abusive and Violent Environments, are enclosed.



Press release

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments

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."

Because of these widespread injustices, Cook said, SAVE has launched its Campaign 2012, a grassroots effort to reform U.S. domestic violence laws:

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:

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:

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is a victim-advocacy organization working for evidence-based solutions to partner violence:


Teri Stoddard
Telephone: 301-801-0608

Source: CISION Wire


In 2011 Stop Abusive and Violent Environments conducted the first-ever national surveys of false allegations of abuse. The surveys defined “abuse” to include child abuse, domestic violence, or sexual abuse. The surveys were conducted in two rounds in May and September, with 10,000 households contacted in each round.

These are the detailed results:

Percent Responding “Yes”
Question May Survey Sept. Survey Average
1. Have you ever heard of anyone falsely accused of abuse? 48.4% 43.6% 46.0%
2. Has anyone you know ever been falsely accused of abuse? 15.5% 18.0% 16.8%
3. Was this person falsely accused of child abuse? 74.0% 57.6% 65.8%
4. Was this person falsely accused of domestic violence? 28.9% 37.5% 33.2%
5. Was this person falsely accused of sexual abuse? 48.5% 28.9% 38.7%
6. Was the person falsely accused of another form of abuse? 4.9% 19.4% 12.2%
7. Was this person falsely accused in the last year? 17.7% 16.3% 17.0%
8. Was the falsely accused person a male? 81.0% 72.8% 76.9%
9. Was the accuser a female? 69.9% 66.9% 68.4%
10.Was the accusation made as part of a child custody dispute? 25.8% 29.2% 27.5%
11.Have you been falsely accused? 11.0% 8.3% 9.7%

Due to the survey’s reliance on voter registration records and its response rate, it is necessary to exercise caution in generalizing the survey findings to the national population. The survey methods are described here:

Source: SAVE