False Accusations of Domestic Assault Happen. This is a Fact.
They happen for a number of reasons, it could be to win custody battles, force a spouse to leave the family home, or to get even with a spouse who wants a divorce. It may anger some that I acknowledge this, as if in doing so it takes away from the prolonged fight society has had against real cases of domestic violence. This could not be further from the truth. In reality, false accusation damage society as well, by destroying the lives of innocent people all with a simple lie. False accusations take away from the true struggles of abuse victims by providing an unfair avenue to deny a spouse their equal rights to children and family property.
At Millars Law we receive countless emails, telephone calls, and consultations from those who fear they will be accused of domestic assault, or already have been, and are looking for advice. Many want to know what to do and how to protect themselves.
Here are a few universal steps that anyone can take to protect themselves before or after a false accusation:
Consult With a Domestic Violence Defense Lawyer
Find a lawyer that provides free consultations and call to ask them questions, even if you have not been charged. Many people have questions but fear to speak with a lawyer because of the possible costs. Even if you are not sure if you need a lawyer, just speaking with one about your concerns can provide you with invaluable information to help you better understand both what options you have moving forward and whether or not you need their help.
Talk to Family Members and Friends About Your Concerns
In most cases, once they learn of the accusations, many family members and friends may turn against you. Even those you have known your entire life may question whether the allegations are true. Notifying those closest to you beforehand will put them on notice that such an accusation is a possibility. While we tend to want to keep the “dirty laundry” in our lives private, it is beneficial to have others aware of any erratic behaviour and threats from your spouse, so they are more inclined to believe you if a false accusation is made and become witness to the situation.
Have a Witness with You When Meeting With Your Spouse
Even if you fear your spouse may make a false accusation against you, you may be in a situation where you must be in contact with them, including where you have shared custody of your children or to exchange property. In these circumstances, it is very important that you do not place yourself in a position where your spouse can make an accusation against you for abuse or ill-treatment. Make sure you have a family member or friend present during these interactions. Having a witness present will ensure you have evidence that nothing inappropriate occurred.
Avoid Taking Actions That Can Be Used Against You
There are a number of actions that, although not illegal, may open you up to negative assumptions both in the family and criminal courts. Even where you have not assaulted your spouse, certain actions may make you appear more likely to have done so, therefore bolstering a false accusation. Avoid arguing with your spouse, losing your cool or damaging property. Even punching a wall out of frustration may make you appear violent or lead to you being charged with mischief. You must think of how your actions will appear to others who do not know you and whether they will make you appear unstable or violent.
Ensure Your Spouse Doesn’t Have Access to Your Accounts
If you fear a false accusation will be made against you, or if this has already occurred, ensure that your login and password information is changed on a personal cellphone, bank, internet, email and social media accounts. There are a number of ways your spouse could damage your reputation and finances through accessing your information and bank accounts. One of the first questions I ask my clients before contacting them via email is whether their spouse has access to their email account and therefore is privy to our confidential conversations and advice.
Gather Evidence of their Behaviour
Once an accusation has been made, evidence that the abuse did not happen or of your spouse’s inconsistent behaviour will be important in order to clear your name in the family and criminal courts. Any evidence related to when the abuse allegedly occurred or their threats to make such allegations will be essential to prove your innocence. Save any text messages you have with your spouse and document any arguments you may have with them. Take screenshots of social media posts where they make accusations against you or display unusual behaviour. All this evidence will become very important when your family and criminal lawyers argue against the allegations in court.
Take Care of Yourself
With all the anger, frustration and upset that accompany the fallout of a false accusation, many accused are left in a state of shock and depression. There are few things worse than having your life turned upside down in this manner. However, you will need to be your best self to fight against the false accusations. Both in your personal life and in the courtroom you will need to present yourself as the strong, stable and caring person you truly are. Take time to eat well, exercise and spend time with those who support you. This will help you to keep a clear mind and make good decisions while you deal with the accusations. Do not take any criminal charges or family court applications made against you lightly. You need to take steps in order to clear your name and make sure you are not taken advantage of.
Are you worried your spouse will make a false accusation of abuse? Are you facing criminal charges or family court applications through which you have been falsely accused? Get your questions answered with a free consultation.
Call (519) 657-1529 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Jennesa Plaine