In a study released recently in the Children and Youth Services Review, researchers investigated the attitudes of maltreated children involved in court hearings.
Specifically, the research examined whether the type of abuse (sexual vs. physical vs. neglect), the type of court (dependency vs. criminal), and child and abuse characteristics predicted child victims’ feelings about seeing defendants in court and answering questions in the courtroom.
Data were collected from interviews with the children and from their court files. Results indicated that girls testifying about sexual abuse felt the strongest levels of negativity about seeing defendants in the courtroom, whereas the smallest levels of negativity were shown when the abuse was physical and the victims were appearing in dependency court.
The more severe the maltreatment, and the older the children were at the time of the court hearing, the greater the negative feelings were.
The full paper can be accessed via ScienceDirect.