Speaking up against justice: credibility, suggestibility and children's memory on trial

Motzkau, Johanna (2010). Speaking up against justice: credibility, suggestibility and children's memory on trial. In: Haaken, Janice and Reavey, Paula eds. Memory Matters: Contexts for Understanding Sexual Abuse Recollections. London: Routledge, pp. 63–85.

URL: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/97802038736...

Abstract

In this chapter I suggest that the scientific and public debate on memories of sexual abuse could benefit from a detailed examination of how legal systems negotiate the tensions and ambiguities surrounding children's memory of sexual abuse, including legal attempts to make children's voices heard. This means examining memory in terms of the concrete practices through which its expression is negotiated, and to explore the dynamic and shifting conditions under which credibility is assessed and established. I will illustrate this approach by exploring child witness practices in England/Wales on the background of the history of sexual abuse and child witnessing. The chapter draws on interview data from a larger research project that has compared child witness practice in England/Wales and Germany against the backdrop of a genealogy of suggestibility research (Motzkau, 2006). I begin by positioning the issue of child witnessing and sexual abuse in a contemporary context.

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