Supporting Victims of Unfounded Allegations of Abuse’ is a nonprofit Company (known as FACT) and is UK wide. It is a membership based, voluntary organisation run by an elected national governing committee accountable to its directors and members.
Our work is focused on providing support to those who have been accused of abuse who maintain their innocence and who have never carried out similar offences or pleaded guilty to such offences. Most people initially contact us though our telephone helpline (see side panel), or by email, email@example.com. We provide support free of charge to the general public and also encourage people to become members and make financial donations, which in turn helps us to continue supporting others. We hold at least two meetings a year when members, their families and guests can get together for mutual support helping them to cope with their problems as well as giving them access to expert views on legal matters.
When an accusation is first made the effects on the accused, their family and close friends is horrendous and regardless of how far that accusation is taken: be it an investigation that is dropped or a wrongful conviction followed by prison, the effects are hugely damaging and last a life time. Knowing you are not alone and have someone to call on is vital.
Our aim is to:
- provide advice and support to those working in positions of trust, including volunteers and their families and colleagues
- raise public awareness concerning the reality and risks of false allegations of abuse
- encourage and promote research into the reasons why false allegations are made
It is clear to us that many whose work regularly brings them into contact with children and/or vulnerable or dependent adults, do not realise just how:
- vulnerable they are to being falsely accused of abuse or misconduct
- closed safeguarding bodies are to any possibility that the allegations made might be untrue
- inadequate the justice system is in establishing truth
FACT recognises that, tragically, some children and some adults are abused by those working in positions of trust however we strongly believe that it is important investigative agencies acknowledge the reality that sometimes false allegations are made, and that to say so publicly is not incompatible with a duty to safeguard children or adults from the risk of harm. Indeed we would argue that until the State and safeguarding agencies accept this reality innocent citizens will be wrongly accused of abuse and this will have an adverse effect on those who have genuinely been abused.
In recognising that abuse does occur, the evidence also shows that it does not occur on the scale that is claimed.
What matters in any investigation of abuse is the truth. The truth can only be established if society and the investigative agencies remain equally open to the possibility that allegations of abuse may not be true, as they are to the possibility that an allegation is true.
Presuming guilt and suspending disbelief helps no-one. What is needed is a return to objective, evidence based investigation without which serious miscarriages of justice will continue to occur.
Those we have helped includes men and women who work (or have worked) in …
◾children’s homes or residential schools
◾special education (residential or day provision)
◾colleges, further and higher education establishments
◾social care and/or social work
◾day care units (playgroups, childminders, and nurseries)
◾the voluntary sector (youth and community work including uniformed organisations and sports clubs)
◾health care provision
◾faith groups and religious communities
◾the police and prison services
◾the armed forces