Here is a step-by-step guide on how to deal with false allegations of child abuse.
In disputed custody cases, false allegations of abuse are often made. One parent believes that if he or she makes an allegation of abuse against the other parent, he or she will exert pressure. Most often, the allegation of abuse is a tactic used to alienate the child from the target parent. In other words, it’s part of parental alienation. There are a number of steps the affected parent can take to refute the false allegation of abuse. Below are suggestions to share with patients as appropriate.
Gather as much documentation as possible to support the allegation, including emails, text messages, recordings, pictures, court filings, investigations, and more. The documentation is persuasive for a judge because it is tangible and understandable.
Develop a timeline showing the sequence of events that led up to the false accusation. What triggered it? What legal benefit is the person trying to gain by making a false claim now? A timeline can often reveal the motivation behind a false allegation of abuse and can be presented in court.
Hire an attorney who is proactive, aggressive, and experienced in cases of false allegations and parental alienation. Do your research and then interview several attorneys before making a decision. An excellent attorney can help win a case; A bad or inexperienced lawyer can help lose it.
Hire a mental health professional who can address false allegations, parental alienation, and the specific facts of a case. An expert is invaluable in assembling the narrative and presenting it during court testimony. A forensic psychologist or a forensic psychiatrist can best help.
Stay calm and collected and don’t say or do things that make you look angry, defensive, cheating, or guilty.
Don’t slack on your determination to refute the false allegation of abuse. A combination of persistence and patience is required. The legal process can be lengthy.
Expect more false accusations as the case progresses, especially if the first accusation didn’t get much traction. It is common for the perpetrator of a false accusation to make more of the same over time.
Be proactive and assertive when discussing the false allegation with the child’s attorney. This attorney must fully understand that the allegation is false.
Typically, a false allegation of abuse results in the offending parent placing the child in therapy with a therapist who is sympathetic to that parent’s narrative. If possible, talk to the child’s therapist to clarify the truth about the falsity of the claim.
Gather as much information as possible about the offending parent and their motivation for making a false accusation. Submit relevant records.
In most cases, the false allegation of abuse is part of a parental alienation process. The intent is to disrupt the child’s relationship with the target parent and the false accusation is used to carry out that mission. The aim is to throw the affected parent under the bus, so that their relationship with the child is restricted or severed. As such, parental alienation may be the core issue in the case.
Of course, a false allegation of abuse by a parent should be proven in court with negative consequences. Loss of primary custody, limited parenting time, supervised visits, court-ordered therapy, and/or a fine are just a few of the possible consequences. When consequences are imposed, false claims would stop.
These steps are important in dispelling a false allegation of abuse. These moves can be persuasive and successful. The target parents must be proactive, aggressive, and determined to form their team, gather documentation, and assertively present the truth.
dr Blotcky is a clinical and forensic psychologist in private practice in Birmingham, Alabama. His specialty is false allegations of abuse and parental alienation. He is also an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.