The Five Magic Words: What Do Restraining Order Defendants Mean when They Say They’ve Been Falsely Accused?

TALKING BACK to restraining orders

A presumption of people—including even law professors—is that when restraining order defendants say the accusations against them are false, they mean that specific allegations of fact made by their accusers are untrue.

This is a misunderstanding, and it’s a totally understandable one that accounts for the incredulity expressed by proponents of the battered women’s movement when they hear statistics propounded like 50 to 90% of restraining orders are based on “false accusations.” (A family court judge might say 30%, the jaded former director of a woman’s shelter might say 40 or 50%, a men’s rights activist might say 60 to 80%, and at least one family attorney has said 90%. There are no “official” statistics—and there can’t be, because no records of false accusations are kept, and false accusations, besides, are seldom called “false accusations” in court rulings. Figures put forward are always speculative.)

It must be appreciated that…

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