Prosecutorial discretion about special measure use in Australian cases of child sexual abuse

Jane Goodman-Delahunty, Natalie Martschuk, Martine Powell, Nina J. Westera

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Legislation enabling special measures to take the evidence of vulnerable witnesses exists in all Australian jurisdictions. A gap between these laws and actual prosecutorial practices was previously reported in interviews conducted with stakeholders. A manual file review of 59 prosecution files in child sexual abuse cases in three Australian jurisdictions extended that research. Prosecutorial consideration of special measures was documented in most cases, more typically for child than adult complainants, and more routinely in some states than others. Analysis of file entries disclosed four major themes underlying prosecutorial uses of special measures: (1) legislative compliance; (2) complainants’ needs, psychological and social; (3) the support of other criminal justice professionals; and (4) logistical issues. Assessments of the credibility of complainants were integrated with the use of special measures.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe evolving role of the public prosecutor
Subtitle of host publicationChallenges and innovations
EditorsVictoria Colvin, Philip Stenning
Place of PublicationNew York, USA
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9780429467547
ISBN (Print)9781138606791
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series

NameDirections and Developments in Criminal Justice and Law


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