The Plight of the Falsely Accused in Domestic Violence Cases

Each year, millions of women are physically abused by their partners. This is an epidemic that must be stopped. It is also true that while this is going on, many people both men and women, are falsely accused by their partner of domestic violence and they use the criminal justice system as a sword to even old scores.

Why Do False Accusations Happen?

The reasons for false accusations are many, I will go through some of the more common ones I have seen in my practice. First, many accusers are scorned lovers and are using the criminal justice system to punish their partners for straying outside the relationship. I witnessed a situation where the "victim" stated she would drop the charges if the defendant left his new girlfriend. I have also seen this occur in cases where the parties are involved in a bitter divorce or custody battle. A criminal charge can give the "victim" party a lot of leverage in Family court and paint the other side as an abuser. Another reason for these false accusations is that in today's political climate, domestic violence "victim" receive special treatment for welfare, public housing, and other state and federal benefits. In New York City, a domestic violence victim is moved up on the list for public housing and can get emergency cash from the state. This is done without the defendant having been convicted of anything, the public agencies simply take the accusers word for it.

How to Stop False Domestic Violence Charges

Prosecutors should file charges against people who file false domestic violence charges against their partner. After nine years of criminal law practice, I have never seen this done. The political backlash is something that prosecutors cannot deal with. In most jurisdictions prosecutors are elected and they must follow the political winds if they want to keep their jobs. In fact, many prosecutors offices provide services to accusers in domestic violence cases in order to garner votes from the public. The most effective way to stop this in any particular case is to tell the prosecutor up front that these are baseless accusations and will be fought up until the very end. In these cases I have found that a good defense is the best offense.

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