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NCJ Number: 156957 Find in a Library
Title: Credibility of Child Witnesses: The Role of Communicative Competence
Journal: Topics in Language Disorders  Volume:13  Issue:4  Dated:(August 1993)  Pages:59-78
Author(s): K J Saywitz; R Nathanson; L S Snyder
Date Published: 1993
Page Count: 20
Type: Survey
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article reviews the communicative competence of adults and children as questions and responders in the forensic context.
Abstract: Effective communication between adults and children depends on the adults' ability to talk to children in concepts they can understand and to pose questions in a form that recognizes children's states of language and cognitive development. Common forms of communication breakdown can involve vocabulary, linguistic complexity of questions, and the use of yes/no questions. The context of a question can also affect children's credibility. Concepts that are difficult for young children to understand, and that must be compensated for by the questioner, include time, number, and physical appearance. Children's potential for successful communication in a courtroom setting depends on their development in comprehension, logic, memory, and fantasy-reality distinction. The gap between adult and child communication may be bridged by training for legal professionals, the development of sensitive interview protocols, special court procedures, and adequate preparation of child witnesses. 69 references
Main Term(s): Juveniles
Index Term(s): Children in the courtroom; Communication techniques; Courts; Juvenile witnesses; Witness credibility
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