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Intermediaries and cross-examination resilience in children: The development of a novel experimental methodology

Henry, L. ORCID: 0000-0001-5422-4358, Crane, L., Millmore, A. , Nash, G. & Wilcock, R. (2021). Intermediaries and cross-examination resilience in children: The development of a novel experimental methodology. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 35(6), pp. 1387-1404. doi: 10.1002/acp.3869


Experimental studies examining child ‘witnesses’ under cross-examination typically rely on researchers questioning children using a ‘barrister’s script’. In the current research, experienced barristers used a defence statement from a mock perpetrator (who committed a theft 11 months earlier) to challenge typically developing children’s evidence under cross-examination. We also assessed whether Registered Intermediaries (RIs), trained professionals who facilitate communication between vulnerable witnesses and members of the justice system, help children reduce compliance with misleading cross-examination suggestions. Results demonstrated that children (6-11 years) complied with barristers’ challenges to a high degree: 94% agreed with at least one of the barristers’ seven false suggestions. However, when assisted by an RI, children were significantly less compliant with barrister challenges. These findings, and additional analyses of the nature of child responses and barrister questions, provide novel exploratory evidence for the beneficial role of RIs in tempering the adverse effects of cross-examination style questioning for children.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. © 2021 The Authors. Applied Cognitive Psychology published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Publisher Keywords: cross-examination, barristers, child witnesses, Registered Intermediaries, court
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
K Law
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Language & Communication Science
SWORD Depositor:
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