False allegations of domestic violence

Family proceedings are often very sensitive and stressful which, in turn, can lead to the parties involved making false allegations of domestic violence against one another. Making false allegations and accusations of domestic violence is unfortunately, a common and unfair tactic employed either before or during family proceedings. Quite often allegations of domestic violence and abuse may not be genuine, and may be made purely to gain advantage in matters involving child custody and financial settlement proceedings. It may come as a surprise that some people are using false allegations and domestic violence allegations to gain access to free public funding and legal aid.

Article Contents

What is domestic violence and abuse?

The term domestic violence refers to violence, which is carried out by someone in the victim’s domestic circle. This domestic circle could include current partners, ex-partners, immediate family members, close relatives, and family friends. Domestic abuse can be carried out by one partner to control the other partner.

A person who is forced to change their behaviour due to fear and fright of another person is experiencing abuse; it can also be considered as controlling or coercive behaviour. Any person can suffer domestic violence or abuse regardless of their age, gender, ethnicity, or background.

Cafcass refer to domestic abuse as “any incident or pattern of incidents of controlling, coercive, threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between those aged 16 or over who are, or have been, intimate partners or family members regardless of gender or sexuality. The abuse can include, but is not limited to psychological, physical, sexual, financial and emotional.”

How can you spot domestic violence and abuse?

Domestic violence and abuse, according to the NHS, can take form of different kinds of abuse, however the aim is always about having power and control over the other person. The following types of abuse may amount to domestic violence and abuse:

Emotional Abuse:

Emotional or psychological abuse involves emotional mistreatment. This could be carried out by constantly belittling one person, blaming one person for the arguments and disagreements, isolating a person from their family and friends, making unreasonable demands, telling you what to wear, where you can go and who you could see, controlling your money and finances as well as monitoring your social media profiles and using locators to monitor your activities.

Sexual Abuse:

Sexual abuse can take place by way of touching you inappropriately, making unwanted sexual demands, hurting you during sex and pressuring you to have sex.

Physical abuse: 

Sexual abuse can take place by way of touching you inappropriately, making unwanted sexual demands, hurting you during sex and pressuring you to have sex.

Threats and intimidation:

A lot of people are unaware; however, threats and intimidation are also a form of domestic abuse and violence. So, if someone has threatened to hurt or kill you, destroy your belongings, invaded your personal space, read your emails, messages, or letters or harasses and follows you, then this could be categorised as domestic abuse and violence. 

Does domestic violence and abuse only affect women?

Domestic violence can affect people regardless of gender, quite often people assume that only women are the sufferers of domestic violence and abuse, however, the figures from the Office of National Statistics confirms that in the year ending March 2019, an estimated 2.4 million adults aged 16 to 74 years experienced domestic abuse and violence. Out of these numbers 786,000 men experienced domestic abuse as well as 1.6 million women.

Genuine domestic violence and abuse within family proceedings?

Not all incidents in family proceedings involve false allegations. Most of the time the accusations of domestic violence and abuse will be genuine. It is extremely important to recognise and distinguish the genuine cases which can easily be mistaken for the false accusations or false allegations of domestic violence. Domestic violence is a very serious issue and should be discouraged.

How do the courts deal with genuine domestic violence and abuse within family proceedings?

There has been a major overhaul of family courts to try and protect victims of domestic abuse. Children and victims of domestic abuse will receive greater protection. These new changes were announced by the government on the 25th June 2002.

Under these new changes the victims will receive special protections in court and victims of domestic abuse and violence will be allowed separate entrances to the court as well as waiting rooms to protect them from the abuser. Judges will also have stronger powers to prevent abusers from bringing a victim of domestic abuse back to the court. Judges will have the power to make such orders if necessary. There will also be a new investigative court process to attempt to reduce conflict and filter out false allegations of domestic violence. The courts will attempt to find the root of the domestic violence and abuse to ensure all parties are safe and are able to participate fairly and equally within the proceedings.

The aim of the reform is to protect victims further from abuse and place restrictions on the actions of offenders. The Local Authorities will also be under a duty to provide additional support to domestic violence victims and their children through refuges and safe accommodation.

The courts also have the power to issue an emergency order of protection such as a non-molestation order where one party makes allegations or accusations of domestic abuse. Other orders such as occupational orders are also available to protect the victim. These allow the victim to remain safely housed in their accommodation whilst ordering the abuser to leave the family home and have no contact with the victim and their children.

What should I do if I feel my partner is likely to make a false complaint?

False allegations and accusations of domestic violence and abuse can be upsetting as well as stressful. You should immediately seek legal advice if you feel you are likely to be the subject of false accusations of domestic violence or have been the subject of false allegations. False allegations of domestic violence and abuse can have serious consequences. The consequences of making false allegations of domestic violence could involve, limiting the time you spend with your children, or you could also be removed from your family home and an order issued to prevent you from living in the family home.

Family law specialists will often be able to advise you of your options. When such false allegations arise, you will be given the opportunity to attend the court. This will be your opportunity to provide your side of the story and request the court to dismiss the false allegations against you, and you will need to ensure you deal with each false allegations presented. At Kabir Family Law, our family law specialists can assist you in reviewing the other parties’ application and statement and assess whether these are false allegations or have some merit. You should carefully consider the opponents application and detail to ascertain which allegations are false. Family lawyers can also assist you in preparing your statement in response to the application together with assisting you in preparing your evidence which can be used to refute the false allegations made by the opponent.

How does the family court deal with false allegations and accusations of domestic violence and abuse?

Any allegation which is made must be subject to scrutiny by the family court. The applicant must therefore prove their case and, it is not for a victim of false allegations and accusations to disprove a hopeless and false case.

Furthermore, despite the false allegations being made up, the courts will give you an opportunity to attend the court to provide your response to the application involving allegations of domestic violence and abuse.

Our family lawyers have been successful in assisting with dismissing applications by way of strategically proposing a set of cross-undertakings, which in turns makes it difficult for the other side to proceed with public funding: arrange a free consultation to discuss this further by querying cross-undertakings when you contact us.     

What are the implications of being falsely accused of domestic violence?

Quite often partners will make up false allegations of domestic violence to exit a relationship and may do so to spite their partners. Some parents will often raise these false allegations to prevent the other parent from having any access or contact with the children from the relationship. Unfortunately, innocent people may become the victims of false allegations of domestic violence and abuse allegations. This could lead to a police investigation which could result in an arrest and even a case in the court. You could be charged with an offence which has not taken place and could result in a criminal conviction.

If you are being accused of false domestic violence allegations during family and matrimonial proceeding, you should consider seeking legal advice. At Kabir Family Law our family law specialists can listen to your concerns and help you prepare for your court hearing, in which you will need to provide your version of events and to dispute the allegations against you. With many years of experience, we can look to assist you in preparing a robust statement which will help your matter and prevent you from being treated unfairly within the proceedings as well as assist you in challenging these false allegations.

It is also important to note there are severe implications and repercussions for a party who falsely alleges domestic violence and abuse. If they are unable to provide evidence to substantiate their allegations the court could see them as perverting the course of justice. By providing false or inaccurate information and evidence they would also be committing perjury. These allegations are serious and are considered carefully in court and could lead to criminal offences resulting in custodial sentences as well the judge deciding a family matter against them.

How can you avoid false allegations and accusations of domestic violence and abuse?

During family and matrimonial proceedings there may be acrimony and hatred between the parties. Quite commonly false allegations of domestic violence and abuse arise where there is direct contact between parties.

To avoid false allegations and accusations of domestic violence you should try and avoid direct face to face contact. Direct face to face contact is often the leading cause for such false accusations to surface. Your former partner or the party to the allegations, may provoke you to get involved in an argument or a heated discussion which could lead to you becoming involved in allegations of domestic violence and abuse.

Even the most minor actions such as raising your voice could prompt the other party to suggest that some form of domestic violence and abuse has taken place. To avoid this conflict, you should try to avoid direct face to face contact where possible where the other party is being malicious unless you have witnesses present. The presence or involvement of a third party or a witness can often deter the other party from raising these false allegations.

You could consider alternative means of contact to discuss key issues such as telephone, text messages, emails, or other means of social media. You could also rely on such means of communication as evidence if the other party becomes unreasonable in the proceedings to seek an unfair advantage. 

Misusing domestic abuse and false allegations of domestic abuse and violence

The BBC noted in 2018 that thousands of parents falsely claim domestic abuse and violence and forward false allegations of domestic violence. This is purely to access legal aid and prevent one parent from seeing their children. The charity Families need Fathers suggests that family law solicitors are encouraging some parents to make applications for orders such as non-molestation orders. The charity has seen thousands of parents, mainly fathers, who have been the subject to such false allegations. Such action is being taken to orders to qualify for legal aid which would benefit solicitors and the alleged victim of domestic abuse and violence. The BBC also notes that non-molestation orders have gone up by “several hundred percent” since the changes and restrictions on legal aid.

  • Protection orders are being granted in the absence of the person being accused and without allegations being proven.
  • The making of such orders enables the alleged victim to benefit from thousands of pounds of legal aid, which could be used in subsequent family law proceedings.
  • The alleged victim would not have been automatically entitled to legal aid, however by making such false allegations they are able to seek representation.
  • Complaints of verbal abuse, unwanted text messages, phone calls or emails could be used to gain an unfair advantage within proceedings.

These actions and false allegations could be used to restrict one parent from spending time with their children and delay the process of arranging child contact.

Contact Kabir Family Law for a free initial consultation about combating false allegations today

If you feel your ex-partner is raising false allegations against you, contact our family lawyers today to help advise you on defending fruitless applications. Our family lawyers in Northampton can assist you to ensure you are not taken advantage of through false and inaccurate allegations which could seriously prejudice and impact your family law matter and provide an unfair and unwanted advantage to the other parent. We provide family law advice nationally as well as internationally through telephone, email, and Skype. We will also ensure you are kept up to date with you matter and assist you developing a strategy to help you succeed. Contact us today for a free initial consultation by calling on 0330 094 5880 to discuss your options or let us call you back.