The European Association of Psychology and Law (EAPL) annually organises a conference to bring together researchers and practitioners operating in a forensic context. Combining different disciplines, such as psychology, criminology and law leads to a multidisciplinary conference with presentations on topics like detecting deception, false memories, presenting forensic evidence in court, investigative interviewing, risk assessment, offenders, victims and eyewitness identification (see program). This year’s conference took place during the 24-27th of June in St. Petersburg and I summarised a selection of talks given during this conference.
Tuesday the 24th of June, 2014 Symposium 16.30-18.00 – Allegation: True or false
Van Koppen: I don’t know why I did it: motives for filing false allegations of rape. The first in a series of three talks (see Horselenberg & de Zutter). Explained the basis of the false allegations of rape in a Dutch & Belgian research project. Their conclusions are that the existing data (Viclas) and models are insufficient. Researchers on the current project went through rape cases between 1997-2011 and found more than 50 false allegations. Subsequently, they investigated the reasons why these people made false allegations and found in addition to the already known factors (especially emotional reasons and the alibi factor were often present; on the other hand, mental issues and vigilance were not) that in a substantial amount of cases it was unknown why this person made a false allegation of sexual abuse. Some people reported not knowing why they made the false allegation (even when pressured by the interviewer to provide a reason), and in other cases the researchers couldn’t find out because the police hadn’t asked or did not write down the reasons down, so it wasn’t in the case file. In conclusion, false allegations of rape happen, they cause problems, and it is not always clear why people make these false allegations.