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.
|Title of host publication||The evolving role of the public prosecutor|
|Subtitle of host publication||Challenges and innovations|
|Editors||Victoria Colvin, Philip Stenning|
|Place of Publication||New York, USA|
|Number of pages||19|
|Publication status||Published - 2019|
|Name||Directions and Developments in Criminal Justice and Law|