What psychological expert witnesses can and cannot do in respect to children’s testimony
Dr Sarah Krähenbühl, an associate member of Psychology Direct, Chartered Psychologist and Lecturer in Psychology at Staffordshire University and also with The Open University, has undertaken extensive research on interviewing strategies used in children’s forensic interviews and as such has highly specialised skills in the area of child testimony. Dr Krähenbühl is a joint holder of a research grant from the British Academy to fund a project examining ground rule implementation in Achieving Best Evidence (ABE) and associated effects on children’s testimony.
In the last 2 years Dr Krähenbühl has written over twenty expert witness reports concerning the reliability and credibility of children’s evidence, competency and/or cognitive ability for the Family or Criminal Courts and have given evidence in the Family, Magistrates and Crown Courts in both England and Wales and Scotland. In a recent article in Counsel Magazine Dr Krähenbühl expalins that she has “come to realise that there is a lack of understanding and awareness of the role of the expert witness and what he/she can and cannot do in the assessment of children’s testimony.” She has also found that the quality of the information obtained during the interviewing of a child witness “varies considerably”.
This area of Expert Witness work requires highly specialised training and experience and Experts In Child Testimony are often asked to assess the Competency, Veracity and/or Credibility of a Child Witness.
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