Three Things To Do If Your Ex Accuses You Of Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is a serious offense, which is why it can be terrifying if an ex-lover falsely accuses you of this crime. If you find yourself at the wrong end of a domestic violence accusation, you need to take steps to protect yourself. The following are a few things you absolutely need to do as soon as possible.
#1: Protect against further fraud
A former lover that is willing to make a false accusation may also be tempted to attempt other illegal activities against you, such as stealing from you or even compromising your identity. The following are a few steps to take to ensure this doesn't happen:
- Remove the accuser from any accounts where you listed them as an authorized user. This should have been done when the relationship ended, but of course this doesn't always occur.
- Change the locks to your home and change any alarm or entry codes. Do this even if your ex returned keys, since they may have made copies.
- Update the passwords on your digital devices and for any online accounts.
- Make sure your important documents, like birth certificates, are safe and secure.
One caveat: Consult a domestic violence attorney about any joint financial accounts, particularly those that have value. Do not just close these, as your ex technically has partial ownership, and doing so could get you in legal trouble.
#2: Avoid damage control
It can be tempting to preemptively try to control the damage from the false accusations so you can protect your reputation. Unfortunately, doing too much damage control too quickly can make one appear guilty. It can also muddle the facts and make it harder to prove yourself in court. Instead, take the opposite tactic and close down your social media accounts, or at least stop posting on them and activate the privacy controls. Don't make any statements, even informal ones to friends and family, without first talking with an attorney. Your friends and family members can be called to the stand if the accusations progress to a criminal trial. Things you said in fear or frustration about the situation can be misconstrued and then used against you. It's best to save most discussions about the case for your legal team.
#3: Do not engage
You do not want to engage with your ex. This means do not talk to them on the phone, respond to emails, talk to them over social media, or go to their home or workplace. You should keep a record of any of your ex's attempts to contact you, though. Keep emails and save voicemails. If your ex comes to your home, do not open the door or talk with them. If they refuse to leave, then call the police so there is a record that it was your ex that was bothering you. Most importantly, do not allow yourself to be alone with your ex at any point. If you must engage with the ex, such as if they come to pick up belongings, then make sure you have at least two witnesses with you.
Being falsely accused of any crime is scary, but domestic violence can be particularly stressful. Work with a domestic violence attorney for more help.