The authors describe a research programme investigating whether psychological evidence about child sexual abuse and child witnesses meets several criteria for admissibility in US courts: (a) general acceptance within the scientific community, (b) helpfulness to the jury, and (c) whether its probative value outweighs its prejudicial value. Responses from a survey of child sexual abuse experts suggest that they agree about the research findings in three areas: the demographic characteristics of sexually abused children, child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome (Summit, 1983), and children's cognitive capabilities. Survey responses from college students and community members indicate that they may be especially helped by expert testimony on children's memory. Laypersons may also benefit from a discussion of the paucity of research on offender characteristics and the wide variety of responses to sexual victimization. Data from a survey and a trial simulation suggest that expert testimony on child sexual abuse will not be prejudicial to the defendant. Implications for expert witnesses are discussed.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Applied Cognitive Psychology|
|State||Published - Dec 1997|