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NCJ Number: 164462 Find in a Library
Title: Children's Testimony: Research Findings and Policy Implications
Journal: Psychology, Crime & Law  Volume:1  Issue:2  Dated:(1994)  Pages:175-180
Author(s): G Davies
Date Published: 1994
Page Count: 6
Type: Research (Applied/Empirical)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The British legal system has traditionally taken a skeptical attitude toward the testimony of children, as reflected in the competency requirement, the corroboration rule, and the judicial caution, but recent psychological research suggests that children can provide invaluable testimony in securing convictions in sexual or physical abuse cases if the they are properly interviewed.
Abstract: The research indicates that children's spontaneous accounts of events are generally accurate and that suggestibility can be greatly reduced by appropriate questioning techniques. Many legal hurdles surrounding children's evidence have been dismantled and procedural innovations such as the Videolink and videotaped interviews have been introduced. Empirical research has demonstrated the effectiveness of the Videolink, and a similar evaluation is planned for videotaped interviews. Policy issues related to children's testimony are discussed that focus on the ability of children to report events accurately, to differentiate fact from fantasy, and to withstand leading or suggestive questioning; the competence of child witnesses; and ways in which questioning styles influence the quality of children's testimony. The need for a new research agenda to include the impact of biased or repeated questioning and requests to children from abusers to lie or keep secrets is highlighted. 28 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile witnesses
Index Term(s): Abused children; Child abuse; Child Sexual Abuse; Child victims; Children in the courtroom; Competency to testify; Crimes against children; Evidence; Foreign courts; Great Britain/United Kingdom; Juvenile victims; Video taped testimony; Witness credibility
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