The visual in psychological research and child witness practice

Motzkau, Johanna (2021). The visual in psychological research and child witness practice. In: Reavey, Paula ed. A Handbook of Visual Methods in Psychology: Using and Interpreting Images in Qualitative Research (Second Edition). Routledge, pp. 148–165.



This chapter explores the role of the visual in legal practice and psychological research, focusing on issues of children's memory and testimony in the context of child abuse investigations. Reporting experiences and findings from a research project that compared child witness practice in England/Wales and Germany, it illustrates how the visual asserted itself throughout the research process, emerging as an important and often equivocal arbiter within practices negotiating children's memory and credibility. The chapter focuses on the role of video technology introduced in the UK, as part of special measures to provide better access to justice for children and vulnerable witnesses. Drawing on courtroom observations and data from interviews with legal professionals, it also illustrates how in practice the video asserted itself as a participant, an autonomous proxy witness with a gaze and an ambiguous voice of its own.

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