What Australian jurors know and do not know about evidence in child sexual abuse

Jane Goodman-Delahunty, Natalie Martschuk, Annie Cossins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A total of 1,931 non-empanelled jurors in the greater Sydney metropolitan area responded to a series of brief statements about forensically relevant issues common to many child sexual abuse cases. Jurors indicated the extent of their agreement with statements concerning typical evidential features of child sexual offences, children’s responses to sexual abuse, and children’s suggestibility and reliability as witnesses. From these responses, the prevalence of misconceptions about child sexual abuse among a large contemporary Australian jury sample was derived. The results clarified what jurors know, what they do not know, and topics about which they are unsure and require guidance. More than half of the jurors did not know or were uncertain of three issues central to child sexual abuse trials, namely evidence contemporaneous with the alleged abuse, the reliability of children’s evidence, and children’s post-abuse reactions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)86-103
Number of pages18
JournalCriminal Law Journal
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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