Child Witnesses in Criminal Court Cases Analytical Essay by SuperBrain

Looks at the ethical, legal and professional areas of criminal court cases when dealing with children as witnesses.
# 150638 | 1,060 words | 3 sources | MLA | 2011 | US
Published on Mar 28, 2012 in Criminology (Forensics) , Child, Youth Issues (General) , Ethics (General)

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This paper explains that, in the legal area, the prosecution must find the basic facts of what the child knows without using suggestive questioning thus leading the child witness; however, depending on the child's age, it can be difficult for the child to determine reality from fiction and to define pronouns correctly. Focusing on the ethical area may be the most challenging point; therefore, the author recommends that the interviewer remain neutral, not forcing the child to do something against his will or take advantage of a child's desire to please adults. The paper underscores that, regardless of how the prosecution and defense feel about the child witness, they must remain professional doing their jobs correctly and using the correct legal jargon for the court and the recordings even though many young children may have a difficult time understanding the questions.

From the Paper:

"On the other hand, giving their statement in court can also be beneficial for a child. It can be a sort of therapy, confronting what or who s/he saw, and providing the evidence needed to lock that person away and prevent him from hurting someone else. In cases where the child was also the victim of the crime, it can give s/he a sense of control in the situation and provide satisfaction that s/he faced the fear and did all s/he could do in the case.
"In the case of Margaret Kelly Michaels, the child witnesses involved in the case had legal, ethical and professional focus areas. Michaels was convicted of 115 counts of sexual abuse against children; the students in her pre-school center alleged that she performed sexual acts on them (Greene 406). In this case, the young children involved endured all three focus areas. As far as the legal aspects go, the prosecution and defense had to find the facts of what happened to the children specifically; to do this, they used an anatomically correct doll and had the children show what Michaels did to them. They also did not have to worry about suggestive questioning, since some of the children involved told doctors and/or parents about the abuse. As for ethical aspects, this case was especially challenging, due to the nature of the crime committed. Anyone with a young child would find it difficult to not let their emotions interfere with the work at hand. Finally, being professional in these types of cases can be hard, since the correct terminology needs to be used, and again, you cannot let your emotions show at all during the case."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Battin, David B. and Stephen J. Ceci. "Children As Witnesses: What We Hear Them Say May Not Be What They Mean." P. 1-2. Retrieved from
  • Dalenberg, Constance J. and Linda Brown. "Ethical Issues." Mental Health Care for Child Crime Victims. P. 1-9. Retrieved from
  • Greene, Edie. "Children As Witnesses." Wrightman's Psychology and the Legal System - 6th Ed. P. 404-412

Cite this Analytical Essay:

APA Format

Child Witnesses in Criminal Court Cases (2012, March 28) Retrieved December 06, 2022, from

MLA Format

"Child Witnesses in Criminal Court Cases" 28 March 2012. Web. 06 December. 2022. <>