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October 13, 2008
Contact: Alan Karmin, <>

Frivolous Claims of Abuse are Common, Demand Remedies, RADAR Says

WASHINGTON, October 13, 2008 – One million claims of domestic violence are filed each year that are false or unnecessary. Such allegations prevent the true victims of abuse from getting the help they need. Today RADAR, a victim advocacy group, released 10 recommendations to curb such frivolous accusations.

The recommendations include common-sense strategies such as requiring actual proof of abuse before granting a restraining order, raising evidentiary standards, and penalizing accusers who knowingly make such claims.

"It is shameful that we have shortchanged true victims by wasting so many dollars to investigate false charges of abuse," reveals RADAR spokesperson Elizabeth Crawford. "If we want to help victims, we must stop vindictive accusers from ruining other persons' lives."

False abuse claims hurt almost everyone – true victims, children, and persons who are falsely accused:

  • Judge Rucker Smith of Georgia was falsely accused by his ex-girlfriend of assault. After the jury's acquittal, the judge explained, "For someone to falsely accuse another out of anger and vengeance silences the voices of the many real victims."
  • Mr. General Parker of Illinois, delegate to the recent Democratic National Convention, has not been allowed to see his son for nearly four years, even though a jury found him innocent of all charges.
  • In Pennsylvania, Ben Vonderheide incurred over $350,000 in legal expenses defending himself from 40 allegations over a six-year period. Last month Wendy Flanders was convicted of perjury and making false claims of partner abuse.

Columnist Barbara Kay notes in her October 6 editorial, "false allegations of domestic violence and sexual abuse of children against their former partners are so rife - and virtually never punished - that it is apparently the best-kept secret crime in the western world."

This year the theme of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, which is observed during October, is "False Claims Hurts True Victims." The 10 recommendations to stop false accusations can be viewed at: http://mediaradar.org/docs/RADARwhitepaper-False-Allegations.pdf

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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