Linguistically complex recognition prompts in pre-recorded cross-examinations

Laura M Stevens, Hayden M Henderson, Michael E Lamb

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Abstract

This study examined the effects of pre-trial preparation and pre-recorded cross-examinations on the linguistic complexity of recognition prompts (i.e., option-posing or suggestive questions) used when questioning child victims in English criminal courts. The study also compared the linguistic complexity of recognition prompts that did and did not contain suggestive content. Analyses compared 43 cases that involved pre-recorded cross-examinations with pre-trial preparation and 44 cases that did not, which occurred between 2012 and 2016. Cases utilizing the "special measures" contained fewer linguistically complex prompts with and without suggestive content than did their counterparts, demonstrating the benefits of those special measures. Overall, linguistically complex recognition prompts were more likely to contain suggestive content than other recognition prompts. However, linguistically complex prompts with and without suggestive content were still frequently used despite the special measures, demonstrating the need for further professional training to improve the quality of children's evidence.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBehavioral Sciences & the Law
Early online date8 Feb 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 8 Feb 2021

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