Child complainants and the court process in Australia

Richards, Kelly (2009) Child complainants and the court process in Australia. Trends and Issues in Crime and Criminal Justice, 380, pp. 1-6.

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In recent years, it has been recognised that child complainants in the criminal justice system can experience difficulties over and above those of other complainants and that children can experience the court process as extremely traumatising. This can be exacerbated if children are complainants in child sexual offence matters and if they have to give evidence against a family member.

This paper has three primary aims. First, it outlines the major factors that contribute to making court processes harrowing for child complainants. Second, it outlines some of the main initiatives that have been introduced to address these factors. Finally, it weighs up the evidence about initiatives designed to assist child complainants and concludes that such initiatives have had only limited practical impact for child complainants in the criminal justice system.

The limited impact is attributed to the need to balance the rights of the accused with consideration for the complainant, a failure to translate legislative changes into practice, the impact of judicial discretion and/or a focus on protecting child complainants at the expense of increasing convictions.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 65321
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Children, Complainants, Victims, Witnesses, Courts
ISSN: 1836-2206
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Crime & Justice Research Centre
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Justice
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Australian Institute of Criminology
Deposited On: 11 Dec 2013 23:47
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 23:33

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