Defending Against False Allegations Of Domestic Abuse

Domestic abuse allegations are an incredibly serious issue in the family courts. They must be handled with the utmost discretion, with all domestic abuse claimants being given a platform to be listened to and understood. But what about those facing false allegations of domestic abuse? In this article, we will define domestic abuse, how false allegations can occur, the legal orders that can be made, and how a family lawyer can help you fight against false allegations.

The definition of domestic abuse

The meaning of domestic abuse is set out in Practice Direction 12J of the Family Procedure Rules. Readers who are interested in gaining a more in-depth understanding of the law in this area should see the judgment of the Court of Appeal in Re H-N and Others (children) (domestic abuse: finding of fact hearings)  [2021] EWCA Civ 448

Domestic abuse is regarded as behaviour carried out by one person against another with whom they are in a personal relationship, where the behaviour is abusive or manipulative. This can include threatening, demeaning, aggressive, or manipulative behaviour. By definition, domestic abuse can include but is not limited to:

  • Sexually abusive behaviour
  • Controlling or manipulative behaviour
  • Financial abuse
  • Psychological abuse
  • Emotional abuse
  • Harassment and stalking

A common misconception is that domestic abuse can only occur in a relationship between a man and a woman. Domestic abuse has a broader application than this, as it can occur between any two individuals over the age of 16 who share a close relationship, such as a parent and child.

The court’s approach

The procedure of the family court can be severe in cases where domestic abuse is alleged. Practice Direction 12J of the Family Procedure Rules states that where an allegation of domestic abuse is made, the court must consider that allegation before making a contact order. This makes it harder for parents accused of domestic abuse to get temporary (interim) contact during the court proceedings

If the court deems it necessary, it will list (schedule) a fact-finding hearing. This is a hearing at which the allegations of domestic abuse are considered by the court. Fact-findings are usually very intense affairs that require careful preparation. Evidence such as witness statements, photographs, phone records, police disclosure, and local authority reports often feature in such hearings. For further information on fact-finding hearings see:

When claims of domestic abuse are made, there are two other orders that the accuser can apply for against the accused person. These include:

  • a non-molestation order
  • an occupation order. 

Of the above two orders, occupation orders can have the greatest impact on the life of the accused person. This is because, if made, an occupation order can result in a person being excluded from the family home. For more information on occupation orders, see:   

How To Defend Against False Allegations Of Domestic Abuse

The best way to defend against false allegations of domestic abuse is to seek legal help. These allegations can be difficult to deal with, and you will almost certainly be better off with the help of a legal professional.

How can Demstone Chambers support you with false domestic abuse allegations?

Demstone Chambers are a direct access barristers chambers. We are based in Milton Keynes. but offer our services in London, Birmingham, Coventry, and across the UK. We are specialist family law barristers and have dealt with many cases of false domestic abuse allegations. To find out more about how our team of expert family law barristers can support your case, please contact us.


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