Why Are False Allegations of Domestic Violence Rarely Prosecuted?

Domestic violence is a very serious cause and sadly, an all too prominent issue in the United States. Yet it can’t be ignored that false allegations of domestic violence do happen.

 

A 2009 report from the University of New Mexico School of Law explains that recantation in domestic violence cases has become the norm. According to the head of the Family Violence Division of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office, an estimated 90% of domestic dispute victims recant their original statements. A recantation does not always mean the abuse didn’t occur, but for some reason, the victim recanted their statement whether it be due to pressure from the accused, fear, false accusations or other outside factors.

Due to the emotional and often volatile nature of domestic violence, there are many organizations and protocols in place to help victims quickly and safely escape a dangerous situation. Sadly, this also makes it easy for domestic violence charges and restraining orders to be taken advantage of. Due to the high prevalence of recantation, it is commonplace for prosecutors to turn a blind eye to possible perjury in domestic violence cases for fear of criticism even though it is widely understood that lying to a court is in fact a felony.

According to SAVE, an organization dedicated to finding evidence-based solutions to end domestic violence and sexual assault, it is estimated that nearly 700,000 people are wrongfully convicted of domestic violence every year yet there are no district attorneys who regularly prosecute false allegations of domestic violence. With the high prevalence of innocent men and women convicted of domestic disputes, it’s shocking to hear there are no district attorneys in the United States who regularly prosecute false allegations of domestic violence.

As of now, the only true help a person accused of domestic violence can find is with a domestic violence defense attorney to avoid conviction and prove their innocence. Even so, the accused are often arrested and charged based on the word of the accuser and then face attorney fees and a social stigma that can last months, years, or a lifetime. Even without formal criminal charges, a false accusation of domestic violence can result in devastating circumstances for the accused socially, professionally, and even financially.

 

A good -or bad – example of this situation was in 2015 when UFC Heavyweight, Travis Browne, was accused of domestic violence by his estranged wife and fitness model, Jenna Renee Webb. Rather than making a formal claim and getting the authorities involved, on July 8, 2015, Ms. Webb posted a photo of her, with a bruised face and arms, on her Instagram profile with over 100k followers.

 

Jenna Webb DV Accuse

 

The picture was accompanied by the following caption: “Probably one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made was walking away from this life and starting over. I’m still ashamed for staying as long as I did. #domesticviolenceawareness”.

 

This caused a social media uproar with “trolls” coming out of the woodwork to attack Mr. Browne for his alleged abuse, even though there was no concrete evidence of abuse or criminal charges. Due to the violent nature of professional fighting, the UFC quickly suspended Browne to conduct their own private investigation into the matter.

One month after allegations surfaced, the investigation concluded and found “inconclusive evidence” to support the allegations of domestic violence. Although Browne was reinstated and much of the public attention of the matter eventually died down, the damage was already done. A quick look at Browne’s social media accounts shows he still receives messages and comments accusing him of beating his wife.

With the massive impact a false allegation of domestic abuse can have on the accused, it’s a wonder why the accusers are so rarely prosecuted, especially with the drastic negative impact it has on the life of the accused.

Brian Beltz

With a degree in Mass Communications and Journalism, Brian brings over four years of experience writing for the legal industry to Dopplr.

4 comments

  • I am a female and am going through this same scenario against my ex boyfriend. I was shockingly arrested not knowing what I had done. Police said based on the scratches and bruising on my ex boyfriends neck they had to arrest me – for the first time ever. I went to jail, paid bail, got home late that night. Woke up the next morning and checked my security camera outside to see if anything popped up. Low and behold, in 1080 HD a video of the person that accused me scratching and punching his OWN neck. I quickly called the police so that I could submit the evidence before the DA filed. I even called the DA’s office 10 times to make sure they received the footage and there was no answer and no message machine. The DA did not receive the supplementary police report and filed on me – pushing me to hire a lawyer. Three weeks later, my lawyer checked to see if the DA received the video and they only received the report to the video and not the video….AND still had not even read the report. My lawyer pulled together a report with a detailed log of the video and footage – that is timestamped to the exact time he is calling the police while scratching his own neck. Currently, I am awaiting my courtdate to see what happens. I feel like a victim of DV and the justice system and something needs to be fixed. I am now out several thousands of dollars because of someones lies and a missed step in the justice system. Something positive needs to come out of my experience and I want to figure out how to fix this in our system. I also want justice to be served properly to those that file false police reports. Men and women don’t deserve this unfairness. I am beyond shocked at our system and really want to draw attention to this issue. I understand that my first step is to get this dismissed and need to concentrate on that. Second step is to get this expunged. Third step is to bring additional awareness to this topic. If just one person learns from my experience than I will be happy. Any ideas where to start?

  • Can I press charges on my wife if I am found not guilty in court for domestic assault and spent a week in jail?

  • My husband also falsely accused me of domestic violence. One day I discovered that he had been asking out women he with whom he worked. He had started to to drink heavily.. about two cases of beer each day, I later discovered. I knew he was drinking, but he would lie about the amount. My husband soon become violent and had extreme outbursts of anger. He become repeatedly verbally and even physically abuse towards me. One afternoon he came home from work and began to belittle me to the point where I was in tears, begging him to stop. Of course I defended myself, so we began to argue. At some point in the argument my husband called my father, who came into the house and proceeded to shake me and yell in my face. I was still crying from my husband’s cruel words, so I left the house. When I returned my husband had called the police and I had no idea as to why. One police officer ran at me and violently forced my hands behind my back. I asked him what he was doing and never received a response. He and his partner lifted me off of the ground and carried me to the police car. Not once did they tell me why I was being arrested. I later found out that my husband had made false accusations against me so he could have me out of tbe way to date other women. He attempted to tell the officers the truth, but they refused to speak with him until after charges has been filed. In court my husband maintained tbat I had done nothing to him, so the domestic violence charges were unsubstantiated. The DA filed a disorderly conduct charge against me because they basically wanted to have something to file against me. I was forced to plea “no contest” to a disorderly because my husband would not pay for a trial. I had been a teacher at the time, and although the state allowed me to keep my teaching license believe that this incident undermined my self-esteem and therby affected my career.

  • This is just what you deserve you people want to sit around and complain about the Laws of other people’s and other countries and how your laws are so Superior and so great. You sit around and watch and listen to all of the lies told about black men and Latino men not taking care of and spending time with their children and you let this go on for so long Latinos being targeted that now you are being profit from like a commodity your children are being bought and sold to the highest bidder and if you can afford the lawyer you lose and if you don’t have the money to pay to play then the free paid legal aid lawyer representing the false accuser and your own children is paid for with your tax dollars will win and you will lose your children this is that democracy and capitalism that you are so proud of good day

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