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Are false sexual assault allegations common?

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2022 | Sex Crimes |

Incidents of sexual assault may go unreported by their victims, which is a common occurrence, but what happens when a false accusation occurs? CNN reports that approximately 10% of accusations turn out as falsehoods, but the ramifications for those accused can have far-reaching consequences, even if they never committed the crime.

While the percentage of incidents seems quite small, a variety of factors may skew the numbers and a deeper look into false accusations of sexual assault may reveal some surprising facts concerning this issue.

Mislabeled cases

While false allegations of sexual assault certainly do occur, the percentages may vary in accuracy due to several different factors. The definition may vary by department, for example, and some individuals may not want to cooperate with authorities, especially once their version of events begins to vary. As a result, some crimes may get mislabeled once dismissed and affect the percentages.

Varying legal guidelines

Not all law enforcement groups process sexual assault claims in the same manner, which may lead to wide differences in guidelines. One precinct may require reporting the crime within a certain time frame, while another may base the accusation on circumstances, such as whether any witnesses saw the alleged crime occur. This usually leads to a lower instance of reporting such assaults, true or otherwise.

Sexual assault cases may also get dismissed if law enforcement does not have enough evidence to investigate, and these incidents may get mislabeled. Some believe that more consistent country-wide guidelines can further reduce incidents of false allegations and assist those accused before the incident has a negative effect on their futures.

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