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Falsely accused of domestic violence?

A shared parenting charity, Families Need Fathers, argues that thousands of parents falsely claim domestic abuse in order to access legal aid, and as a result stop estranged partners from seeing their children. There are certainly many cases in the UK where partners or ex-partners make accusations out of spite, or to end a relationship, however, there are also many cases where domestic violence and abuse has occurred, so it’s vital any accusations are taken seriously. According to data from the Crime Survey of England and Wales (CSEW), an estimated 1.2 million women experienced domestic abuse in the year ending March 2017, and an estimated 4.3 million women aged 16-59 have experienced domestic abuse since the age of 16.

There can be many other possible circumstances with regards to domestic violence accusations. For example, a stranger, a babysitter or someone you know very well could feel concerned about an injury to your child, or something your child says, referring Social Services to you as a result. It’s a reality that this does happen to people who are completely innocent of any crime, but there have also been cases where people have been found guilty for domestic violence on very little evidence.

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence often refers to physical abuse, so this could be behaviour such as punching, slapping, biting, pinching, pushing, burning or strangling. Physical abuse is one aspect of domestic abuse, but other behaviours can include:

  • Sexual abuse such as making unwanted sexual demands, hurting a partner during sex, or pressuring a person to have sex.
  • Threats and intimidation can include behaviour such as standing over someone, invading their personal space, threatening to hurt them and harassing them.
  • Emotional abuse, whereby you belittle or put down your partner, blame them for the abuse, prevent them from going to work or accuse them of having an affair.

What happens when a false accusation has been made against me?

As discussed, every accusation needs to be taken seriously so you will be arrested and this may take place anywhere: at home, at work or in full view of your neighbours. You’ll then be taken to the police station where your DNA will be taken and held on file, whilst the police will interview you under caution. Even if you’re completely innocent of any crime, it’s very possible that people spread the word about your arrest, and for many, this leads to verbal abuse and harassment, adding extra stress to the matter.

It’s important to do your absolute best to remain calm, whilst there are some important rights police should make you aware of, such as the fact that you’re entitled to legal advice at the police station. You have the right to waive this right, however, there have been many cases where the Crown Prosecution Service has convicted purely on an admission in an interview at a police station. A lawyer can play an important role in ensuring something you say is not misinterpreted. If you do decide to speak to a lawyer, it’s important you tell them the absolute truth so they can offer the best possible guidance.

In most cases, those who are innocent of any crime are persistent and stick to their story because it’s the absolute truth. So always try your best to remain true to your story and do everything you can to show the court you’re sincere about your innocence.

What happens to my accuser if I’m proved innocent of domestic violence?

If a partner or ex-partner accuses you of domestic violence when you are in fact innocent, they have committed a criminal offence and may receive a prison sentence of up to six months. The sentence may be more severe if they falsify evidence and pervert the course of justice or commit perjury by lying in court


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