There is absolutely no question that domestic violence continues to be a major problem in today’s society. In fact, there are a number of studies that suggest that the issue may be even more serious than previously acknowledged, including many under-reported cases involving male domestic abuse victims. The physical, psychological, and emotional damage caused by violence against an intimate partner or family member can rise to tragic levels, often requiring years of recovery if and when a victim can escape an abusive situation. It is for exactly these reasons that intentionally false allegations of domestic violence are so disturbing, and such allegations can substantially affect the outcome of family-related legal concerns.
Impact to the Falsely Accused
Under Illinois law, an emergency order of protection can be issued by a judge based solely on the testimony of a victim. In a situation where there is actual violence or the threat of violence, this is entirely necessary. However, when a parent or spouse brings false allegations of violence before the court, an emergency order of protection can affect a completely innocent person. Depending upon the details included in the claim, the order can potentially prevent the accused from remaining in his or her home, seeing his or her children, or even going about the normal business of daily living. An emergency order of protection can remain in effect for up to 21 days, or until a re-hearing on the matter can be scheduled, whichever comes first.
Potentially Long-Lasting Effects
Sadly, many individuals who file false reports of domestic violence do so to gain a perceived advantage in a divorce or parental responsibilities proceeding. Virtually all child-related legal matters require the court to take into account the existence of violence or the threat of violence in the household and toward the children. An unscrupulous party may be tempted to create false allegations as “proof” that the other parent should not be granted specific rights or responsibilities related to the child. While the court should be able to determine the actual truth, the allegations can still create an unhealthy level of contentiousness that could negatively affect the child, regardless of the court’s decision.