Archives : 2005 : February
By: Vince Imhoff, Esq. & Ori S. Blumenfeld
A factually false statement regarding an occurrence of domestic violence that is presented to the police creates a multitude of injustices that unnecessarily wastes needed resources that the police and eventually, the judicial system require to properly function.
False Domestic Violence Claims
Making false claims about domestic violence is no laughing matter. Daily, we are privy to reports of spouses battering and abusing the weaker spouse. The scenario is made worse if the particular fact pattern included a falsely battered spouse convincing her unassuming child to inform his or her school-teacher that her spouse beat them. This teacher then in turn, assumes the statements of the child to be truthful and turns to the police for further action.
The teacher and administration have a statutory obligation to report the incident for the sole purpose of protecting the child from any possible dangers. The educational systems single concern is that of child and on even the remote possibility that the statements made by the child are in fact true, the school must report the incident without verifying its validity.
Once put on notice of the alleged incident, the police must use their resources to investigate the claim. The investigation takes up valuable time and manpower. Each officer whose time is wasted investigating fabricated claims could be potentially used for a crime that is actually valid. In addition, this problem may lead to social defects on a greater scale. A foreseen possibility is the need to eventually increase taxes in order to pay for these wasteful resources. Also important to note are the already overcrowded prisons today. Putting a falsely accused man in prison would only hinder the problem that the courts/prison systems have rather than help it.
Repercussions of False Domestic Abuse Allegations
The spouse accused of the jacitation most likely will have their reputation damaged by such allegations with whomever they encounter. Even upon the charges being eventually dropped, still, it is hard to say with certainty that all those with whom this individual comes in contact with will not think in the back of their minds that this person was once charged with a serious crime. Domestic violence is a crime that could potentially happen to anyone who lives with another; a crime that many can relate to whether or not they have been a victim. Society likely views the falsely accused with a cautious eye. This consequence hinders the accused in regaining a normal sense of livelihood, once accustomed to. More so, the accuseds name will be unjustly tarnished. The spouse that made the false accusation will also have her reputation tarnished; the accuser will be known to others as a liar
The child also suffers as a result of the parent that asked the child to make the false accusations. The child may suffer psychological trauma that requires therapy. Potentially, the child may be removed from the school and home that they are in, as well as possibly be ridiculed amongst friends.
Police Become Skeptical of Future Domestic Violence Claims
The increasingly false claims that are investigated create a sense of jadedness in the minds of police officers that could potentially hurt actual future victims. Barring any physical injury apparent to a potential victim of domestic violence, police may not take the claimant seriously until evidence suggests otherwise. Although the claim may be proven, with the absence of actual physical injury, the alleged injured spouse will have to wait longer to have their case heard since the police will need to spend even more time and resources investigating the validity of the false report. A false report would seem to occupy a significantly more amount of time and manpower than an obviously truthful one. Ultimately, the less truthful the statement is, the more time that investigation is needed to clear up the falsely accused.
Additional Problems Associated with False Claims
There are additional problems that arise when falsely accused and forced to make bail. If the allegor is successful in convincing the judge during preliminary hearings that the abuse did in fact occur, bail is set very high. This occurs since the court does not want to make it easy for the alleged to return to the home that he or she might still share with the accuser. If the alleged were to reach his victim, injury or death may ensue. Also, if the accused has reason to think that there is no chance to convince a jury otherwise that the story was false, than there is not much stopping the accused from actually injuring the accuser, elicited from rage created by the unjustly false allegation.
The spouse that made the original allegation needs to be considered with regards to coping skills. It cannot be said with any certainty that once the accuser terminates the prior relationship that they will not enter another relationship in the future, where they once again, make false claims. This parent may have an economic dependency on the other spouse or be victim to an array of differing socioeconomic elements, thus returning to the same cycle that they had previously departed.
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