A review of the use of special measures for complainants’ evidence at trial

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Powell, Martine
Pichler, Anne-Sophie
Goodman-Delahunty, Jane
Sharman, Stefanie
Westera, Nina
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Bryce, India

Petherick, Wayne

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2020
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Abstract

Special measures are alternative modes of evidence presentation by vulnerable witnesses, such as child and adult complainants in child sexual assault (CSA) cases. They include closed-circuit television (CCTV) and prerecorded investigative interviews. This chapter reviews studies on special measures to determine (a) the prevalence of special measure use in Australian jurisdictions; (b) the effectiveness of special measures; and (c) the influence of special measures on conviction rates in CSA cases. In Australia, the most commonly used measures are CCTV and prerecorded investigative interviews, which is consistent with international research findings. Although witnesses reported positive experiences with these measures, juries may perceive evidence as less credible when presented in a prerecorded investigative interview or via CCTV compared to live, face-to-face testimony in court. However, no experimental research to date has demonstrated an association between uses of special measures and trial outcomes. The chapter concludes with recommendations for future research.

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Child Sexual Abuse Forensic Issues in Evidence, Impact, and Management

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Criminology

Psychology

Forensic psychology

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Powell, M; Pichler, A-S; Goodman-Delahunty, J; Sharman, S; Westera, N, A review of the use of special measures for complainants’ evidence at trial, Child Sexual Abuse Forensic Issues in Evidence, Impact, and Management, 2020

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