Let us begin this blog by making one thing very clear: there is a very serious domestic abuse problem in the United States. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, more than 10 million women and men are victimized by some sort of domestic violence each year. It is a severe problem and steps must be taken to combat this epidemic.
That said, false allegations of domestic abuse are sometimes used to discredit the alleged perpetrators and manipulate the legal system. A simple accusations is enough to cause serious harm to one’s reputation, much less the the irreparable damage that would result from being wrongly convicted of domestic abuse.
Even if you are accused and eventually exonerated, alleged abusers are usually very quickly tried and found guilty in the Court of Public Opinion, leading to long-term and far-reaching ramifications. The motivations for such behavior are many, such as taking revenge for a perceived slight or in order to influence a child custody battle. It is essential that if you are in some sort of dispute, particularly with a partner or close acquaintance who stands to gain from falsely accusing you of domestic violence, you must take steps to avoid providing ammunition to their case against you.
If you have any suspicion or reason to believe someone could try to use false allegations against you, be sure to take the following actions:
React rationally, not emotionally
Most people are completely caught off guard when they are faced with false domestic violence accusations or threats of taking legal action. You will likely be overwhelmed with emotions, but you cannot allow your emotions to get the best of you or dictate your behavior. You must control your anger and frustration and avoid falling into the “self-fulfilling prophecy trap,” where the false allegations cause you to act in a manner which gives credence to the claims. React rationally, seek out a skilled defense attorney, and always follow your attorney’s advice.
You must diligently document your interactions with the opposing party. Include dates and times, what was said, and be sure to include any threats, intimidation tactics, or abuse against you. You should also try to keep friends and loved ones apprised of any erratic or unpredictable behaviors of your potential accuser.
Protect your identity and personal information
You should immediately change any passwords and protect access to any and all sensitive personal information. Restrict access to your phone, change email and social media passwords, and be sure your potential accuser cannot access anything that would allow them to cause harm to your reputation. Those who would seek to abuse the legal system by falsely accusing you of domestic violence oftentimes may try to send threatening or vulgar messages from your personal accounts to themselves in order to provide “proof” that their claims are true.
Do NOT break the law
This should go without saying, but you absolutely cannot afford a run-in with the law which may impact how a court views your character and credibility if you are falsely accused of abuse. Additionally, especially in situations such as custody cases, you must abide by any and ALL court orders. If your partner is granted a restraining order against you or temporary custody of your kids, strictly follow these court orders until the basis for those orders can be legally proven false. Just because you disagree with a court order or you know it was granted on false grounds doesn’t mean you can ignore it. Doing so will severely harm your case.
If you are facing any accusations or charges of domestic violence, it is absolutely essential that you enlist the services of a skilled defense attorney. Please contact the law office of John M. Totten today and let us fight to protect your reputation and your future!