False Allegations of Domestic Violence: A Qualitative Analysis of Ex-Partners’ Narratives

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6 Scopus citations


False allegation of violence and abuse is an under-recognized problem in custody disputes and divorce cases. However, only a handful of studies have investigated false allegations of domestic violence as a phenomenon in itself. Thus, the aim of the present study was to explore the experiences of individuals (male and female), who were recognized as falsely accused of domestic violence. An interpretive phenomenological analysis approach was utilized to analyze interviews conducted with 19 false allegation victims. Participants' interviews revealed three superordinate themes: (1) "I was the victim in this relationship:" False allegation as a form of lifelong intimate partner violence; (2) "I felt everything crashing down on me:" False allegation as a traumatic event; (3) "This battle has brought me to my knees:" A series of losses following false allegations. The findings may provide some qualitative insights into the experience of false allegation and its possible connection to coercive control in the context of partners' conflictual relationships. It is important for professionals to acknowledge false allegations as abusive tactics used within domestic violence situations as they cause considerable pain to the individuals involved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1391-1403
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Family Violence
Issue number8
StatePublished - Nov 2022


  • Coercive control
  • Domestic violence
  • False allegations
  • Qualitative research
  • Subjective narratives


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