Mock juror perceptions of child witnesses on the autism spectrum: the impact of providing diagnostic labels and information about autism

Crane, L., Wilcock, R., Maras, K. L., Chui, W., Marti-Sanchez, C. & Henry, L. (2018). Mock juror perceptions of child witnesses on the autism spectrum: the impact of providing diagnostic labels and information about autism. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders,

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Abstract

Research suggests that autistic children can provide accurate and forensically useful eyewitness evidence. However, members of a jury also rely on non-verbal behaviours when judging the credibility of a witness, and this could determine the verdict of a case. We presented mock jurors with videos (from an experimental study) of one of two child witnesses on the autism spectrum being interviewed about a mock minor crime. Results demonstrated that providing jurors with generic information about autism and/or informing them of the child’s diagnostic label differentially affected credibility ratings, but not for both children. Implications for how to present information about child witnesses with autism to a jury – highlighting the need for approaches tailored to individual children – are discussed.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is a post-peer-review, pre-copyedit version of an article to be published in Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. The final authenticated version is available online at: https://link.springer.com/journal/10803
Publisher Keywords: autism, criminal justice, jury, credibility, eyewitness memory
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine
Departments: School of Health Sciences > Language & Communication Science
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/20122

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