ERIC Number: ED336950
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1990
Reference Count: N/A
Strange Language. Child Victims under Cross Examination. Third Edition.
Brennan, Mark; Brennan, Roslin E.
The experience of the child victim as a courtroom witness in sexual abuse cases is examined in this study of a testing program involving 30 children aged 6 to 15. The purpose of the study was to identify needs not recognized by courts that can be responded to, denied, or exacerbated through language. Based on court transcripts, differences were studied between the language repertoire of the child and that demanded by the courtroom. Court-related language features are identified and discussed: use of negative; juxtaposition; nominalization; multifaceted questions; unclear or confused expressions; specific and difficult vocabulary; unclear anaphora; use of police statements; quoting of the child's words; quoting of other people's words; repetition of previous response; time, space and location questions; and embeddings. Results of the testing program indicate that certain types of questions posed problems for the child trying to hear language. It is suggested that court appearance is not necessarily traumatizing for a child, but becomes so when a child cannot feel sure that he or she is heard, understood, and believed. Suggestions for improved questioning are offered. An annotated bibliography is included that contains 66 references. (LB)
Descriptors: Adolescents, Annotated Bibliographies, Child Abuse, Children, Communication Problems, Court Litigation, Credibility, Foreign Countries, Jargon, Language Styles, Lawyers, Legal Problems, Sexual Abuse, Victims of Crime
Centre for Teaching and Research in Literacy, CSU-R, P.O. Box 588, Wagga Wagga, New South Wales 2650, Australia ($10.00 plus postage).
Publication Type: Reference Materials - Bibliographies; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Australian Inst. of Criminology. Criminology Research Council.
Authoring Institution: Riverina-Murray Inst. of Higher Education, Wagga Wagga (Australia).