Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950565 | Print ISBN: 9780761928201 | Online ISBN: 9781412950565 | Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Law, Jurors' Perceptions of Child Witnesses
Bette L. Bottoms & Aaron G. Rudnicki
The reliability of children's eyewitness testimony has been of concern for over a century. Although early research concluded that children were highly suggestible witnesses, modern work finds that even young children can be reliable witnesses under optimal conditions (Eisen, Quas, & Goodman, 2002). Considerable attention has also focused on children's perceived accuracy . That is, in a legal context such as a courtroom, children's actual accuracy may never be known with certainty; nevertheless, their perceived accuracy (credibility) must be evaluated by forensic investigators, jurors, and judges. Social scientists have been particularly interested in the perceived credibility of children's testimony in child sexual abuse cases, because such cases often involve little other corroborative evidence that would form the basis of jurors' verdicts. Research on perceptions of children's testimony in sexual abuse cases finds that adults are not very skilled at discerning children's actual accuracy (Leippe, Manion, & Romanczyk, 1992), and as ...