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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 123013 Find in a Library
Title: Admissibility of Expert Testimony in Intrafamily Child Sexual Abuse Cases
Journal: UCLA Law Review  Volume:34  Issue:1  Dated:(October 1986)  Pages:175-205
Author(s): E R Cacciola
Date Published: 1986
Page Count: 31
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Expert testimony on the sexually abused child syndrome is reliable, relevant, and helpful in determining the facts in a child sexual abuse case.
Abstract: The credibility of child witnesses is discussed, along with research in identifying the symptoms and characteristics of intrafamily child sexual abuse. Federal Rules of Evidence applicable to cases dealing with expert testimony in child sexual abuse cases are identified, and the manifestations of the sexually abused child syndrome are discussed. Several cases permitting varying degrees of expert testimony on child sexual abuse syndrome are detailed. The article suggests that an expert witness should include in his testimony information for the court and the jury about the syndrome, detail general characteristics that a sexually abused child displays, and tell whether the particular victim's behavior is consistent with the syndrome. If they are to make an informed judgment, jurors must be told whether the victim's symptoms correspond with the syndrome's criteria. The expert's testimony should be subject to cross examination by the defense. 172 footnotes.
Main Term(s): Child Sexual Abuse; Juvenile witnesses
Index Term(s): Children in the courtroom; Competency to testify; Family offenses
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