Special measures in child sexual abuse cases: Views of Australian criminal justice professionals

Nina J. Westera, Martine B Powell, Jane Goodman-Delahunty, Rachel Zajac

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

We explored Australian criminal justice professionals’ views on how well special measures for child complainants of sexual abuse are working in practice. We interviewed judges, prosecutors, defence counsel and witness assistance officers (n = 43) from four Australian jurisdictions, using a qualitative, non-directive approach. Overall, professionals perceived that special measures had improved evidence-giving processes for child complainants, but they nonetheless noted considerable room for improvement. The four overarching concerns that characterised the professionals’ responses were: (1) a lack of skilled and well-informed personnel; (2) widespread problems with technology and logistics; (3) a lack of flexibility in recognising that every witness is different; and (4) potential negative effects of special measures on impact trial fairness.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-242
Number of pages20
JournalCurrent Issues in Criminal Justice
Volume32
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 May 2020

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