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Experts' beliefs about child testimony: Do they match the research or the recommendations?
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2012 (English)In: Nordic Psychology, ISSN 1901-2276, Vol. 64, no 4, 258-271 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The present study examines prosecutors', child investigators', and plaintiff aids' (i.e., important actors during alleged child sexual abuse [CSA] investigations) beliefs about children's testimonies. More specifically, the aim was to examine whether these experts agree (a) with praxis from, for example, the Supreme Court regarding the use of certain credibility criteria when evaluating the reliability of CSA reports; and/or (b) with findings from research on issues of child testimony. The participants (n = 206) were asked to rate how detailed, consistent, and spontaneous they believe children are in their CSA reports; the effects of exposure to repeated abuse; and to indicate their opinion on the optimal number of child interviews. Due to the low response rate, results can only be discussed in terms of possible indications, however, it is interesting to note that the experts had similar opinions on the issues investigated, opinions that were also rather in line with research findings on children's testimony. Although they receive support from the research, some of these opinions are not in line with recommendations made by the Supreme Court or the Pre-trial Order. More research is needed to further examine: (a) the reliability of the credibility criteria recommended by the Swedish Supreme Court; (b) how frequently the Swedish courts actually refer to these credibility criteria; and (c) different experts' (with different functions in the legal process) opinions on these criteria.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 64, no 4, 258-271 p.
Keyword [en]
legal experts' opinions, children's testimonies, credibility criteria, legal recommendations, statement analyses
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-90403DOI: 10.1080/19012276.2012.768032ISI: 000318158700004OAI: diva2:624872


Available from: 2013-06-03 Created: 2013-06-03 Last updated: 2013-06-03Bibliographically approved

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Azad, Azade
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