U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

False Allegations (From Practical Aspects of Rape Investigation, P275-299, 1987, Robert R Hazelwood and Ann Wolbert Burgess, eds. - See NCJ-105948)

NCJ Number
105959
Author(s)
C P McDowell; N S Hibler
Date Published
1987
Length
25 pages
Annotation
This paper examines factors associated with false rape allegations and the characteristics of persons who make them.
Abstract
False rape allegations are usually efforts to bolster eroding self-esteem by denying personal responsibility for failure, projecting one's problems on others, escaping accountability, rationalizing to make negative actions appear reasonable, and handicapping to justify poor life performance. The false allegation may involve self-inflicted injuries. Some indications of false rape allegations are delayed reporting, complainant indifference to apparent injuries, a vague description of the rapist or a claim not to have seen him, evidence inconsistent with the alleged victim's story, extensive injuries that do not involve sensitive tissues, and fingernail scrapings that reveal the victim's own skin. False allegations may also be suspected when they are in the context of stresses in the victim's personal relationships, the complainant has a history of emotional problems, and the complainant has a previous record of having been assaulted or raped under similar circumstances. When a false allegation is suspected by the investigator, inconsistencies in the victim's story should be noted in a supportive manner. Any doubts expressed by the investigator should be based on objective evidence. In a supportive presence, the victim is likely to admit the truth and seek solace. 29 references.