ERIC Number: ED366861
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992-Aug
Courtroom Reforms and Juror's Perceptions in Child Sexual Abuse Trials.
Sigal, Janet A.; And Others
There is a reluctance to bring cases of alleged child sexual abuse to trial because the trial process itself can be difficult for the child witness. Certain procedural reforms have been suggested to reduce the trauma of the trial for the child while maintaining the credibility of the child witness and the constitutional right of the defendant to confront his/her accuser. One such reform involves the presentation of the child's testimony through videotaped or closed circuit television. Another reform is to permit a child advocate to be present as the child is testifying in court. This study investigated these two techniques designed to protect the child in a sexual abuse case and their effect on subjects' guilty judgments and perceptions of fairness of the trial. A simulated courtroom case presented to 83 undergraduate students varied the manner of presentation (videotape versus live courtroom) of the evidence and whether or not the child sat on the lap of an advocate during the testimony. The results revealed that the videotape condition did not affect either judgments or perceptions of fairness; presence of an advocate was related to judgments that the trial was less fair to the defendant, but did not affect guilty judgments. (NB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (100th, Washington, DC August 14-18, 1992).