Online CPD Module l Booklet l PowerPoint Presentation
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Online CPD Module
Presentation time: 60 minutes
There are often issues communicating with vulnerable witnesses - especially children. This module will look at the practical steps that counsel can take to help ensure a better outcome for witnesses and defendants.
Experience and research has shown that the courts have a serious problem with the way practitioners take evidence from vulnerable witnesses and how they communicate with vulnerable defendants. This webinar will have a particular focus on children and young people as vulnerable witnesses. A linguist and a lawyer will walk you through the barriers to best evidence and effective participation of witnesses as they draw upon thirty years of research and the learnings from a pilot scheme in Whangarei.
Topics covered will include:
- Why there are often problems communicating with vulnerable witnesses
- Language that you can employ to communicate effectively
- Protocols and strategies that you can adopt when taking evidence from vulnerable witnesses
- Steps for getting best evidence and improved advocacy.
After this module you will:
- Have an understanding of the challenges of taking evidence from children, youth and other vulnerable witnesses.
- Be able to apply this understanding in getting the highest quality of evidence from vulnerable witnesses.
Please contact us if you use a dial up internet connection.
Author: Dr Kirsten Hanna, Dr Emily Henderson
Published: 10 November 2015
Even very young children can tell us what they know if we ask them the right questions in the right way.1
Children can be very effective witnesses. By the age of two or three, children can accurately remember and recount past experiences;2 children have testified effectively and credibly in court even at three years of age;3 they can also be highly resistant to suggestion, under the right circumstances.4 Children’s ability to testify effectively can depend, amongst other things, on how questions are phrased — the language used and types of questions posed are critical. An understanding of children’s language, and the ways in which it differs from adults’, can help counsel formulate questions that facilitate children’s participation in proceedings.
In this section, we briefly outline some facts about children’s language and the nature of courtroom questioning, before considering some of the things to avoid when questioning children and adolescents. Throughout, “child witnesses” and “children” refer to young people under 18, consistent with the Evidence Act 2006 and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
1 (Walker & Kenniston, 2013, p 2).
2 (Lamb, Hershkowitz, Orbach, & Esplin, 2008).
3 (Walker & Kenniston, 2013, p 2).
4 (Lamb, Hershkowitz, Orbach, & Esplin, 2008).
These are the slides included in the webinar presentation.
Number of Slides: 42