False allegations of sexual assualt: an analysis of ten years of reported cases

Violence Against Women. 2010 Dec;16(12):1318-34. doi: 10.1177/1077801210387747.


One of the most controversial disputes affecting the discourse related to violence against women is the dispute about the frequency of false allegations of sexual assault. In an effort to add clarity to the discourse, published research on false allegations is critiqued, and the results of a new study described. All cases (N = 136) of sexual assault reported to a major Northeastern university over a 10-year period are analyzed to determine the percentage of false allegations. Of the 136 cases of sexual assault reported over the 10-year period, 8 (5.9%) are coded as false allegations. These results, taken in the context of an examination of previous research, indicate that the prevalence of false allegations is between 2% and 10%.

MeSH terms

  • Deception*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Rape / statistics & numerical data*
  • Violence / statistics & numerical data*