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The child as witness 

The child as witness
Chapter:
The child as witness
Author(s):

Anne E. Thompson

and John B. Pearce

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199696758.003.0231
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date: 16 September 2019

In the last 20 years, many societies have paid greater attention to children's rights and the importance of protecting children from abuse. As perpetrators of abuse have been tried in court, so more children have been called as witnesses. From being described as ‘the most dangerous of all witnesses’, children have become recognized to be able to provide valuable and credible testimony in the correct circumstances. Many jurisdictions are now making allowances for children so that their testimony can be delivered in court as fully and accurately as possible. It is no longer tenable to dismiss the capacity of a child to be a witness in court simply because of their age. Children may be less reliable, as reliable, or more reliable than adult witnesses, depending on a variety of developmental and environmental factors.

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