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RADAR ALERT:
RADAR Releases Recommendations to Stop False Allegations of DV

False claims hurt true victims of violence. Under the Violence Against Women Act, false allegations have reached epidemic levels:

  • According to RADAR's Report, "Without Restraint: The Use and Abuse of Domestic Restraining Orders,"1 at least one million restraining orders are issued each year in which no violence is even alleged.
  • A recent analysis found 81% of temporary restraining orders in West Virginia are false or unnecessary.
  • In San Diego, prosecuting attorney Casey Gwinn admits, "I would say itís in the thousands of people who take the witness stand and somewhat modify the truth."

RADAR recently released a White Paper that analyzes the problem of false allegations: http://www.mediaradar.org/docs/RADARwhitepaper-False-Allegations.pdf. The White Paper presents 10 needed changes to federal and state domestic violence laws to correct this insidious problem:

  1. The definition of domestic violence should be consistent with statutory definitions of physical assault.
  2. Harassment and stalking should be objectively defined in terms of specific acts by the alleged offender, not the perceptions or feelings of the alleged victim.
  3. Partner abuse that does not fall within the above-described definition of domestic violence, harassment, or stalking should be addressed by counseling, treatment, and mediation, not by the law enforcement or criminal justice systems.
  4. In order to obtain a restraining order, petitioners must provide hard evidence of physical assault, harassment, or stalking.
  5. Restraining order petitioners may not make a petition for child custody while a temporary restraining order is in effect.
  6. Because restraining orders can affect constitutionally protected parental rights, judges should use the evidentiary standard of "clear and convincing evidence."
  7. Restraining orders should be issued during ex parte hearings only when objective evidence is presented that the violence, harassment, or stalking represents an immediate credible threat to the petitionerís physical safety.
  8. States should enact laws that penalize the filing of false complaints or engaging in perjury. These laws should pertain to the actions of plaintiffs, attorneys, domestic violence shelters, and other organizations that engage in such activities.
  9. Prosecutors and judges should be encouraged to vigorously pursue such violations.
  10. Government-funded legal services must be made equally available to both the petitioner/plaintiff and respondent/defendant.

We encourage persons to review these recommendations and share them with your state and federal lawmakers to make needed reforms. We cannot allow the epidemic of false allegations of domestic violence to continue.

 


 


Date of RADAR Release: October 20, 2008

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R.A.D.A.R. – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation's approach to solving domestic violence. http://www.mediaradar.org