1-07 False Reports of Sexual Assault and Child Abuse


  • Research on False Reports of Violence and Assault
  • Good-Faith versus Bad-Faith/False Reports of Child Abuse

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Research on False Reports of Violence and Assault

Overview of Academic Research by Dr. Christy Sim

For an overview of academic research on false reports of violence and assault, which includes summaries of findings and links to the source documents, see the following article by Dr. Christy Sim (posted April 17, 2016): False Reports of violence & assault are not as common as society believes. Dr. Sim excerpts or summarizes definitions, statistics, and other research findings on violence and assault — both regarding men and women.

One of the most relevant findings from research is that only 2-8% of reports are false, which means they are very uncommon.

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Good-Faith versus Bad-Faith/False Reports of Child Abuse

Child Welfare Information Gateway

In the category of Child Abuse and Neglect on the state laws portal page, the Child Welfare Information Gateway links to resources on two topics related to good-faith or false reports of children abuse.

Immunity for Reporters of Child Abuse and Neglect – “State laws on immunity from liability for persons who in good faith report suspected instances of child abuse or neglect. Immunity statutes protect both mandatory and voluntary reporters from civil or criminal liability that they might otherwise incur. The publication also discusses the provision of immunity for taking photographs or x-rays, performing medical examinations or tests, and participating in the investigation or prosecution of child abuse or neglect cases.”

The document has a section on “Limitations to Immunity” which addresses various states which specifically do not provide immunity for abuse reporters under certain circumstances. These include: when it can be shown the reporter can be shown to have acted with malice or in “bad faith, knowingly made a false report, made an untimely report, or is a mandatory reporter who failed to file a require report.

Penalties for Failure to Report and False Reporting of Child Abuse and Neglect – “State laws also may impose penalties on any person who knowingly makes a false report of abuse or neglect. Summaries of laws for all States and U.S. territories are included.”

For more details, plus instructions on how to research topics on that site, see the section on Child Welfare Information Gateway on page 1-01 Child Abuse, Neglect, and Sexual Abuse.

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