Child witnesses in the UK: it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ approach

Rowsell, Kathryn Amy ORCID: 0000-0003-4501-3158 (2021). Child witnesses in the UK: it’s not a ‘one size fits all’ approach. University of Birmingham. Foren.Psy.D.

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Special measures have been introduced to improve the conditions under which children appear in court, but critics argue that the measures are still not going far enough. The aim of this thesis is to explore experiences of young people in the courtroom and the impact of procedures that have been employed to improve the conditions under which they appear as witnesses. Chapter Two provides a systematic literature review exploring the emotional victim effect and its potential influences within child witness populations. It was concluded that the emotional presentation of a child victim influences juror ratings of credibility across a range of conditions. Empirical research presented in Chapter Three examines professional perceptions of the pre-trial cross-examination method currently being implemented in England and Wales. Results suggest that overall, professionals believe pre-trial cross-examination will be helpful in reducing distress of child witnesses; but its application requires careful thought. The Bonn Test of Statement Suggestibility (BTSS, Endres, 1997) is critiqued in Chapter Four, concluding that the BTSS is useful in forensic applications when considered alongside measures of cognitive and situational factors. The main finding from this thesis is that child witnesses should be treated on an individual needs basis. However, further advancements in both research and practice are needed and options discussed.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Foren.Psy.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Foren.Psy.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Life & Environmental Sciences
School or Department: School of Psychology
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: K Law > KD England and Wales


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