Purported False Allegations of Rape, Child Abuse and Non-Sexual Violence: Nature, Characteristics and Implications
(2017) 81 The Journal of Criminal Law 497
Posted: 9 Mar 2018
Date Written: December 16, 2017
The subject of false rape allegations is shrouded in anxiety, confusion and misunderstanding. Despite a growing body of quality research, there continue to be significant gaps in our knowledge about the topic, including the phenomenon of false allegations beyond rape and other sexual offences. The purpose of this article is to seek to deepen our understanding by examining a unique data set comprising 701 cases involving individuals who purport to have been the subject of false accusations of rape, child sexual abuse, child abuse/neglect and other forms of wrongdoing. This article aims to provide an insight into the nature and characteristics of these allegations and explore the implications of the data for several research and policy questions. It will also critically examine some of the current literature and scholarly claims in this area, particularly around the prevalence of false allegations and critique claims that discussion of this topic is dangerous and best avoided. Finally, the article sets out a future research agenda in which the complex issues raised by false allegations can be carefully considered, and the scale, impact and pathways to accusation can be better understood.
Keywords: Rape, false allegations, false accusations, child abuse, stigma
JEL Classification: K14,
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation