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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 163672 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Children on the Witness Stand: The Use of Expert Testimony and Other Procedural Innovations in U.S. Child Sexual Abuse Trials (From International Perspectives on Child Abuse and Children's Testimony: Psychological Research and Law, P 201-220, 1996, Bette L. Bottoms, Gail S. Goodman, eds., See NCJ-16
Author(s): M B Kovera; E Borgida
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 20
Sponsoring Agency: National Council of Jewish Women
New York, NY 10010
Regents of the University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Sage Publications, Inc
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
US Dept of Health and Human Services
Washington, DC 20447
Grant Number: 90-CA-1273
Sale Source: Sage Publications, Inc
2455 Teller Road
Thousand Oaks, CA 91320
United States of America
Type: Legislation/Policy Analysis
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This review of research impacts the procedural innovations relating to the use of juvenile witnesses in trials involving child sexual abuse argues that a persuasion framework is useful for understanding the seemingly inconsistent findings about how jurors make decisions about child witnesses.
Abstract: As in other areas of impression formation and decisionmaking, jurors seem to assess the credibility of a child witness by assessing both the accuracy of the child's testimony and the trustworthiness of the child. However, both theory and research in social psychology suggest that individuals are not passive recipients of information. Therefore, psycholegal researchers must begin to include variables that increase or decrease jurors' motivation or ability to process the evidence presented at child. The authors' research findings support the assumption that expert testimony enhances jurors' ability to evaluate the trial evidence deliberately and carefully and to reduce the effect of the age of the witness on jurors' opinions. However, to determine whether persuasion models can offer useful predictions about juror perceptions of child witnesses, researchers need to include not only outcome measures but also process measures that address routinely expressed legal concerns about the potentially prejudicial effects of procedural innovations on juror decisionmaking. Both expert testimony and measures to protect children from the trauma of testifying in court may be ruled inadmissible if they prejudicially alter the trial process or prejudice the defendant's case. 50 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile witnesses
Index Term(s): Abused children; Child abuse and neglect hearings; Child Sexual Abuse; Children in the courtroom; Court procedures; Expert witnesses; Jury decisionmaking; Juvenile victims; Witness credibility
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