Depressed teen girl consulting with a psychologist.

Depressed teen girl consulting with a psychologist.

Child sexual abuse is a very sensitive topic. Instances of child sexual abuse can fracture families, tear communities apart, and leave emotional scars that linger for decades. There is one facet of child sexual abuse that is particularly sensitive, but must be discussed honestly nonetheless. That is: kids do sometimes lie about sexual abuse.

Over time we have developed a “don’t blame the victim” culture in this country. While that is a humanistic perspective and certainly one that should be pursued and upheld, it does not mean that all alleged victims are blameless all the time. Children, particularly those embroiled in dysfunctional home and family situations, do sometimes falsely report sexual abuse. Often, the principal motive is to have the accused adult removed from the child’s life. For example, a girl who has a rocky relationship with her father or step-father may accuse him of sexual abuse to “pay him back” for verbal abuse, alcoholism, strict discipline, or placing restrictions on her dating relationships.

From outside the situation, it can be hard to believe that a girl would make unfounded abuse claims against her own father. It is important to consider that minor children seldom realize the full weight of their actions and subsequent consequences. Minor children are easily influenced and often substitute fantasy for fact, especially as an escape from unpleasantness at home. For a troubled child, who feels wronged or wounded by a parent or other adult, claims of sexual abuse can seem to provide a solution.

Consider, too, that sexual abuse claims are easily made to a concerned adult (e.g., a teacher, guidance counselor, coach, camp counselor, religious clergy, or parent of a friend).  Once the claims are made, the “victim” receives a great deal of comfort and solicitous attention. In a misdirected attempt to be supportive, many people accept the claims at face value.

We all bear responsibility for learning how to assess abuse claims for signs of truth or falsehood. No two claims or cases are the same, but the following raise red flags as to the truth of the claims and indicate that every attempt should be made to verify or disprove the veracity of the claims:

  • Lack of physical evidence or any corroborating information
  • Lack of criminal history   
  • Allegations are vague and it is difficult to obtain any meaningful details from the alleged victim
  • Alleged victim has maintained close contact with the alleged abuser, and there are no specific signs of avoidance behavior.
  • The victim makes additional claims when confronted by scrutiny or a lack of evidence (may be an attempt to “up the ante” and gain sympathy)
  • Time lines for the alleged events do not add up
  • The alleged locations of the events do not correspond with the actual residences of the family
  • The child or a member of the family has a history of making previous similar allegations against other possible perpetrators.

The fact is that not all allegations of sexual abuse are true. Regardless of the circumstances, it is imperative to seek the evidence necessary to either corroborate or refute claims of sexual abuse. The professional investigators at Complete Legal Investigations offer the experience and ethics you need to handle sensitive cases of this nature.

When you need professional, confidential investigative services, call the experts at CLI at 561-687-8381.