The Harm of False Domestic Violence Allegations
Every couple fights, the only difference is how heated the fight becomes and what actions take place following the spark of the argument. Take Jeff and his girlfriend, for instance. Both are in their mid-twenties and his girlfriend tends to ‘go off the deep end’ when arguing. Last week, she called the cops on him and claimed he grabbed her by the wrists in attempt to control her. While Jeff was grabbing her wrists in defense, the police arrested Jeff and now he is undergoing extensive scrutiny by police as well as the public. Jeff’s girlfriend called the cops in an emotional state where she thought she could just have Jeff removed for the night. Instead, he is now potentially faced with life-altering judgements by society as well as a restraining order.
False Domestic Abuse Allegations
It is common for a man or woman to call the police during an altercation if an argument gets emotionally and physically charge in efforts to protect oneself. There are many common examples of false abuse allegations such as:
· Self-defense situations
· Automatic reactions to pranks
· Unintentionally blocking the exit
· Holding the arms of the other person during an altercation.
The list of possible false abuse allegations is extensive but the bottom line is that once a domestic violence call is made, the police must continue the investigation. Typically, nobody can drop the charges but the district attorney. This means that if you claim domestic abuse in the home, and regret it later due to the false allegation, it is now in the hands of the law and the repercussions will follow the abuser.
Most states are required to follow through with an arrest during a domestic violence call to ‘error on the side of caution’. Often restraining orders are brought to the alleged abuser to separate the two-people involved in the violent altercation. Unfortunately, according to an organization called Save Services, 70% of restraining orders are false and 700,000 people are wrongfully arrested for domestic violence every year. Since a restraining order is an official court order, regardless of if you committed domestic violence or not, there are serious consequences if any violation occurs. Craig Orent, a specialized domestic violence lawyer, lays out the different forms of domestic violence:
· Physical Violence
· Sexual abuse
· Psychological abuse
· Emotional abuse
· Forced economic dependency
Each form of domestic violence has different repercussions depending on the violence and severity in each case. For example, according to Arizona law, domestic violence can be anything like:
· Videotaping without consent
· Emotional abuse
· Aggressive behavior
The unjust nature of false accusations of domestic abuse extend beyond tarnishing another person's’ reputation in their family, society, and the workplace, but subjecting someone to a restraining order can result in serious fines or jail time if the wrongfully accused ‘abuser’ unintentionally violates the court order. Additionally, the alleged abuser could potentially walk away with an arrest, fines, and jail time for a false conviction; on the other hand, the district attorneys in the United States have never prosecuted the person who made the false claim. Essentially, one party could lose everything while the guilty party could walk away unscathed.
Ultimately, Jeff did not receive jail time because the case was built upon facts and the facts only showed how great he was as a boyfriend- no sign of any abuse. His record was clean, he cooperated with the police force, he hired an experienced attorney, and he is one of the lucky ones that is able to move on knowing he was exonerated.
Domestic violence is a horrible crime that deserves to be punished, but a false allegation is also detrimental and can lead to penalties in all aspects of life. Awareness about the effects of domestic violence false allegations and unnecessary restraining orders is imperative in order maintain a society who upholds justice.