All it takes is the mere allegation of sexual abuse to tear a family to pieces and destroy the life of the accused. When the allegations are false, the target of the allegations is often left mystified about why they are being targeted.
Understanding why children and teens make false allegations of sexual abuse can help you better understand the situation – and inform your defense strategy.
Reasons children and teens “cry wolf” about sexual abuse
Studies abound on the subject, but it basically comes down to a number of basic motives that tend to break down by age:
- Younger children may be trying to gain the approval of another parental figure, such as when a mother coaches a child into making abuse allegations against a father during a bitter divorce and custody battle.
- Some children (regardless of age) may have psychological issues and they either make up the allegations for attention or because they see it as a way to get more affection from their parents or another authority figure.
- Teens may make false allegations that are purely for some kind of personal gain, whether that means they’re getting revenge against someone, they want to get away from their parents (and parental control) or they simply want to deflect attention away from their own actions (and potential punishment).
If any of those situations sound familiar, the odds are good that you recognize your accuser’s motivations.
Allegations of sexual abuse or assault have to be taken seriously. Don’t try to talk your way out of a charge or explain what you believe is happening to the authorities. That’s best left in experienced hands.