The evidence on false allegations fails to support public anxiety that untrue reporting is common. While the statistics on false allegations vary — and refer most often to rape and sexual assault — they are invariably and consistently low. Research for the Home Office suggests that only 4% of cases of sexual violence reported to the UK police are found or suspected to be false. Studies carried out in Europe and in the US indicate rates of between 2% and 6%.
It’s important to recognise that even official statistics on false reporting can and have been inflated by other factors. Sometimes police record cases as “no crime” or “unfounded”. This can happen when it’s difficult to attain sufficient corroborating evidence. There is, however, a big difference between the inability to demonstrate in court that an offence has happened and claiming that these cases are false. These sorts of cases have nevertheless been conflated with false allegations.