Date of Graduation
Eberly College of Arts and Sciences
Juveniles perpetrate an estimated 23 to 33% of all child sexual abuse cases, but there is a lack of research examining jurors' perceptions in these types of cases (National Center for Victims of Crime, 2009). Prior research on child witnesses suggests age affects jurors' perceptions of credibility and accuracy, such that younger children are perceived as more credible than older children in cases of child sexual abuse (Bottoms & Goodman, 1994; Holcomb & Jacquin, 2007; Schmidt & Brigham, 1996). Anatomical dolls and Human Figure drawings (HFDs) are used as forensic interviewing tools in cases of alleged child sexual abuse, despite findings suggesting they may increase inaccurate reporting of false sexual touching (Poole & Bruck, 2012; Gordon et al., 1993; Greenhoot et al., 1999). However, research has shown jurors perceive children as more credible when interviewed using dolls (Tessier & Krackow, 2013). The current study examined jurors' perceptions of child witnesses and defendants in cases involving alleged sexual abuse of a 4-year-old male. Participants read case vignettes controlled for all details except defendant age (32-years-old or 15-years-old) and the use of forensic interviewing aids (Anatomical dolls, HFDs, both, or none specified). Juror ratings of child credibility and witness guilt were subjected to both ANOVAs and logistic regressions. The results revealed no significant differences in perceptions of child credibility or defendant guilt across defendant age or interviewing conditions, and generally jurors perceived children to be credible and defendants to be guilty.
Thomas, Benjamin, "Jurors' Perceptions of Testimony in Cases Involving Child-on-Child Sexual Abuse and Anatomical Forensic Interviewing Aids" (2016). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 6794.