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July 14, 2008
Contact: Mark Rosenthal, <>

False Abuse Accusations Cost Taxpayers $20 Billion, Report Finds

WASHINGTON, July 14, 2008 – Divorce lawyers acknowledge persons often make allegations of abuse in order to gain a legal edge. A report released today shows such claims are widespread, harmful to the children involved in such cases, devastating to persons falsely accused, and costly to the American taxpayer.

The report, "False Allegations of Domestic Violence Cost Taxpayers $20 Billion a Year," compiles government statistics and research studies to reach three conclusions:

  1. Each year our nation spends $4 billion for domestic violence programs.
  2. Each year about 175,000 children are involved in a divorce with a false allegation of domestic violence.
  3. These claims contribute to $20 billion in public costs and taxpayer burden associated with single-parent families.

The report is published by RADAR – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – and is available at: http://www.mediaradar.org/docs/RADARreport-False-DV-Allegations-Cost-20-Billion.pdf

Children are often harmed by false claims. Attorney Lisa Scott of Bellvue, Wash. notes, "The ones hurt most of all are the children kept away from a loving parent."

The report highlights the recent case of Emily Hindle whose mother falsely accused the father of domestic violence in order to abduct the child. The mother later discontinued the childís medical treatment, causing the child to lose her sight in one eye.

"False allegations of abuse are currently the greatest violation of due process in our legal system," reveals family attorney Gregory Hession of Springfield, Mass. "In my practice, Iíve found the majority of the allegations used to obtain restraining orders are false or greatly exaggerated."

Victims of false allegations are beginning to fight back. Former state Rep. Eric Major won a $500,000 award against the city of Birmingham, Ala., stemming from his 2004 arrest and subsequent acquittal on charges that he attacked his ex-fiancee.

False allegations often arise from programs funded by the Violence Against Women Act. RADAR recently launched a Fix VAWA Now! campaign to increase awareness of the need to reform ineffective and harmful domestic violence laws.

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://mediaradar.org.

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