Handling ‘he said/she said’ issues in domestic violence cases
A domestic violence accusation is something many people fear. One reason is that there are so many harmless or innocent situations that could result in domestic violence charges.
A neighbor or bystander may overhear you and your spouse or partner having a heated discussion, make their own assumptions and contact the police. Depending on the circumstances, you may be charged with domestic violence even if the alleged victim does not want to press charges.
One of the biggest challenges prosecutors face is proving domestic violence occurred in “he said/she said” situations. Obviously, they have a better chance of proving their case if they have physical evidence, such as photographs or videos.
Why these cases are so complex
When it is your word against the victims, prosecutors will argue that you are lying to protect yourself. This strategy sometimes works, especially because the judge or jury may already be automatically inclined to believe the victim’s side.
Another challenge with “he said/she said” cases is that no matter what the victim says, the prosecution often has a way to justify it.
If the victim changes their story or denies the accusation, the prosecution may argue that they are doing it because they are afraid of you, playing up their status as a domestic violence victim.
The prosecution has the ability to make anything the victim says simply confirm that they are the victim and you are the abuser.
Defending yourself when it’s your word against theirs
There are ways to counter these arguments. Your case must be thoroughly analyzed to find every inconsistency or lie by the victim.
You can also investigate the victim’s background. The prosecution might try to argue that the victim’s background is not relevant to the case but evidence that the victim has lied to police or under oath in the past, particularly in a domestic violence case, can be powerful.