Child Abuse Allegations In Divorce Cases

September 21st, 2009 by Pelle Billing

As a person working for gender equality from a non-feminist perspective, I’ve heard several anecdotes and personal accounts from fathers, claiming that mothers are increasingly using allegations of child (sexual) abuse, as a way to shut out the father from the child’s life and getting sole legal and physical custody. As interesting as these claims might be, I’ve avoided writing about the subject for the most part, since I am adamant about having some kind of fact or research backing up such claims, before legitimizing them.

Recently I was pointed to a report from the Dutch Public Prosecutioner’s Office, where the Dutch National Expertise Group on Special Cases of Sexual Misconduct have investigated 42 allegations of child sexual abuse in divorce cases. The full report can be downloaded in Dutch, but for those of us who only understand English, a Google translation of the official Dutch summary will have to suffice for now. Here’s a key excerpt from the translated summary:

In 69% of the cases from the period 2003-2007 the Expertise Group concluded that there was insufficient evidence (contradictions, errors, impossibilities, serious weaknesses) and was advised to stop the investigation. In 9% of the cases were advised to stop the investigation, because the file contained insufficient information relevant to an assessment by the Expertise Group, while further research was meaningless because of crucial errors in the history of the case.

In 18% of the cases the file contained insufficient information for a relevant assessment by the Expertise Group, but further investigation was reasonable and were tracing recommendations. In 4% of the cases presented Expertise Group concluded that there were no failures in the history of the accusation and there were sufficient facts that supported the declaration, and was advised to proceed to prosecute the accused. In declarations of sexual abuse after divorce was 95% of the cases recommended stopping the study (86% severe shortcomings, 9% further investigation useless).

In other words, 7 out of 10 cases contained contradicitions, errors, impossibilities and/or serious weakness. Even though this is a small study, and though it doesn’t conclusively prove anything (more studies are needed, one study is never enough), it gives us a hint that some mothers likely abuse the system by using false allegations to get sole custody of their children.

None of this needs to be a problem in a modern democratic society, if the legal system works as it should, and only convicts people when there is proof beyond reasonable doubt. However, in Sweden–and in many other Western countries–courts have become politicized to some extent, and the widespread dissemination of feminist ideas have led to men being convicted more easily in cases where a woman accuses a man of rape, assault or child (sexual) abuse. As such, it is vital that we preserve the integrity of our legal systems, and defend the principle of “innocent until proven guilty”.

The other side of the coin is of course that children need to be protected against abusers, because abusers do exist. In order to do this we need to distinguish between:

  1. Taking every report of child abuse seriously
  2. Automatically believing every report of child abuse

Every report needs to be investigated promptly, in order to keep the child safe, but whether the report is true or not cannot be decided beforehand, and the report on its own–without being investigated–shouldn’t be used to determine who gets custody of the child.

10 Responses to “Child Abuse Allegations In Divorce Cases”

  1. Jim Says:

    “The other side of the coin is of course that children need to be protected against abusers, because abusers do exist. In order to do this we need to distinguish between”

    Indeed, which means that the authorities should be scrutininzing mothers more and fathers less, as well as what else you propose here. But that will require those authorities to self-criticize and drop their sexist stereotypes. And since these authorites usually consdier themsleves oh-so progressive, and very righteous, any substantive self-criticism is really unlikely.

  2. unomi Says:

    This blog previously argued that: “No person deserves to be convicted solely based on the victims’s account of events”.

    Does that also apply to child molestors?

  3. Jim Says:

    “Does that also apply to child molestors?”

    Especially in those cases. Children are especially easy to manipulate into lying for the prosecution. We had a child molestation witch-hunts in the US in the 80s’ and a lot of completely innocent people went to jail for a long time. In the UK there was something simialr recently around Munchhausen’s By Proxy, where in several cases mothers were railroaded.

  4. Chris Marshall Says:

    Unomi:

    Don’t you mean *accused* child molestors?

    Chris

  5. Enric Carbó Says:

    I have a long horror list about that issue. For example this father jailed for his ex’s alegations of sexual abuse against their own sons: http://www.adn.es/ciudadanos/20080107/NWS-1909-Recuperar-falsamente-acusado-despues-vida.html
    This have been long studied by researchers on PAS (Parental Alienation Syndrom), a concept that infuriates feminists -in spite that PAS is used against children both by fathers and mothers, they interpret it is a patriarchal backlash against women.
    There is something very odd about that issue in Spanish language area: the most important PAS-negationist was professor psycologist Dr Corsi from Buenos Aires (Argentina) University; http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jorge_Corsi His writtings don’t contain any empirical research, only radical feminist rhetoric (probably that made he was continuously invited to official events in Spain). His main argument was “Children don’t lie”(-specially against their father, and if this one allegates manipulation that is the proof that he is bloody machista). Well, by the declaration from a teenage he has been jailed as a paedophil http://www.lanacion.com.ar/nota.asp?nota_id=1033073 Of course now he says the boy lies.
    Anyway, his ideas here are kept by our politicians in charge of equality and gender issues, they continue denying PAS
    SAP, if proved (not used by a molester to escape his criminal responsability), is devastating for children. Their negationists to me are an example to what extents can reach the misandric fanatism and dogmatism of some feminism.

  6. Danny Says:

    Unomi:
    Does that also apply to child molestors?

    Yes because as Jim says children are very impressionable to lie for either side. It may sound cold to not just take a child on their word the fact of the matter is a vindictive parent could very easily manipulate the child into hating the other parent of accusing them of abuse when none happened. For the most part children want to please their parents so they simply might not know any better when their parent tells them to tell lies.

    While adult victims may not be as vulnerable to coersion as children adult victims are usually smart, mature, and old enough to have their own motives and incetives to lie.

  7. Harry Says:

    An extremely important point is often missed these days when it comes to discussing abuse issues and how they are handled by the law.

    And it is a very simple one.

    Those who are prepared to harm innocent others (e.g. men) in order to protect women or children have no moral leg to stand on should others decide to harm them in pursuit of their own equally ‘noble’ aims.

    e.g. see, …

    http://www.angryharry.com/es-The-Golden-Rule.htm

    Furthermore, and for example, if I believe that children will be protected from abuse far better if feminists are prevented from having a voice then, if it is all right to harm innocent men in order to protect children, it MUST also be all right to harm feminists in order to prevent them from having a voice.

    In addition, those who SERIOUSLY DAMAGE the lives of innocent men in order to protect children, can have no legitimate complaint whatsoever should other people, in return, SERIOUSLY DAMAGE their lives in pursuit of the very same aim.

    And it is only because feminists have completely undermined any sense of morality when it comes to dealing with men that this grotesque state of affairs (wherein innocent men can have their lives damaged with impunity) currently exists.

    Indeed, no government should ever be permitted by law to knowingly harm innocent people.

    And whenever a government does such a thing, then proper compensation must be paid out to ALL those whom it has harmed.

  8. Cheri Says:

    I have read most of the comments above and want to just say this:

    I have been going through a divorce for the last 3 years, still not through. My children during the separation time SPOKE to me (as their Mother) about sexual abuse by their dad. I was so shocked because we had never used terminology and even spoken in any way like this.

    I did’t know what to do with the information I had received from my children. At the time I had no knowledge that some mothers make false allegations and when I discovered the stats I was even more shocked.
    What hope was there, I was absolutely telling the truth, directly what my children told me.
    AFter a long time of standing for my children and doing all I could to protect them money and other things have shut my voice out and my children are going out again without supervision.
    (Question: What goes on in the mind of a child when they HAVE TOLD THE TRUTH to MOMMY and yet nothing seems to be done??
    2. what does a mother do when she is not heard and IS absolutely telling what the children have told her over time? (no mother is trained for this, not to use leading questions, or don’t over record your children!!)
    3. What is the long term effect on the children when maybe years later they confirm they were telling the truth all along, and as their mother you have to say I did all I could but was not heard. (even a therapist can hear a child say help I was abused and turn around and say the mother might have been behind what the child had said!!
    4 What hope is there for the child being heard and believed and receiving the assurance that someone understands and cares enough to believe them.

    concerned mom: will always love them and believe them.

  9. Pelle Billing Says:

    I’m sad to hear about your story Cheri. We definitely need to protect children from predators.

  10. Chris Marshall Says:

    Cheri:

    AFter a long time of standing for my children and doing all I could to protect them money and other things have shut my voice out and my children are going out again without supervision.

    What do you mean your children are ‘without supervision’?

    Are you saying that your children are in the custody of their dad, they are telling you that they are being abused, and no one will attempt to investigate what your kids told you?


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