True or false? The contested terrain of false allegations
A focus on trying to establish the prevalence rate of false claims of sexual assault is detracting from a deeper analysis of what the term false allegations actually means and what the implications of this are for criminal justice and social policy.
Without a consistent definition and classification of what a false allegation is and without a broader consideration of the social drivers that lead to someone making an untrue allegation or someone labelling an allegation as false, there will be little chance of progress towards a true picture of false allegations.
Instead, an analysis of cultural contexts, gender roles and incorrect beliefs about sexual assault, may contribute to a more useful societal response to allegations of sexual assault.
At the time of writing Liz Wall was a Research Officer with ACSSA and Cindy Tarczon was a Research Officer with ACSSA at the Australian Institute of Family Studies.
Thanks to Rachel Carson for her helpful advice on earlier drafts of this publication.