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NCJ Number: 228430 Find in a Library
Title: Child Complainants and the Court Process in Australia
Author(s): Kelly Richards
Corporate Author: Australian Institute of Criminology
Date Published: July 2009
Page Count: 6
Sponsoring Agency: Australian Institute of Criminology
Canberra ACT, 2601, Australia
Sale Source: Australian Institute of Criminology
GPO Box 2944
Canberra ACT, 2601,
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: Australia
Annotation: This paper outlines some of the special problems faced by child complainants in Australia's criminal courts and responses implemented to address these problems.
Abstract: Children face a variety of problems when they appear in court as complainants including giving evidence and being cross-examined, poor perception of child witnesses, and the low likelihood of conviction. Initiatives implemented in Australian States to reduce the trauma for child complainants and to increase the credibility of children's evidence include: modifying the physicality of the courtroom, closed-circuit television, prerecorded evidence, support persons and child intermediaries, restrictions on cross-examination by the accused, improving interviewing techniques and child witness statements, new offense categories, restrictions on committal hearings, prerecorded evidence, specialist jurisdictions, and training in child witness investigative interviewing. However, although a variety of initiatives have been introduced, evidence suggest that they have achieved only limited success. It appears that the initiatives were under-utilized. Recommendations for future research on child complainants are presented. This paper outlines major factors that contribute to making court processes harrowing for child complainants, some of the main initiatives that have been introduced to address these factors, and evaluates the evidence about initiatives designed to assist child complainants. Tables and references
Main Term(s): Children in the courtroom
Index Term(s): Adolescent victims; Australia; Child victims; Witness credibility; Witnesses
Note: Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice No. 380, July 2009
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