Lawyers’ strategies for cross-examining rape complainants: have we moved beyond the 1950s?

Zydervelt, Sarah, Zajac, Rachel, Kaladelfos, Andy and Westera, Nina 2017, Lawyers’ strategies for cross-examining rape complainants: have we moved beyond the 1950s?, British journal of criminology, vol. 57, no. 3, pp. 551-569, doi: 10.1093/bjc/azw023.

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Title Lawyers’ strategies for cross-examining rape complainants: have we moved beyond the 1950s?
Author(s) Zydervelt, Sarah
Zajac, Rachel
Kaladelfos, Andy
Westera, Nina
Journal name British journal of criminology
Volume number 57
Issue number 3
Start page 551
End page 569
Total pages 19
Publisher Oxford University Press
Place of publication Oxford, Eng.
Publication date 2017-05
ISSN 0007-0955
Keyword(s) rape
courtroom questioning
historical comparison
Summary Despite widespread reforms to legislation and policy, rape complainants still find cross-examination distressing, demeaning and humiliating. We conducted a systematic and holistic examination of cross-examination strategies to discern: (1) the range of tactics that defence lawyers use to challenge rape complainants’ accounts; and (2) whether—and if so, how—the approaches used currently differ from those used prior to the reforms. We compared the strategies and tactics used in cases that were prosecuted in the 1950s to those used in cases from the turn of the twenty-first century. Although contemporary complainants were subjected to lengthier cross-examinations involving a broader range of tactics than their historical counterparts, there was little difference in the breakdown of strategies and tactics across time periods.
Language eng
DOI 10.1093/bjc/azw023
Field of Research 160299 Criminology not elsewhere classified
1602 Criminology
1801 Law
Socio Economic Objective 970118 Expanding Knowledge in Law and Legal Studies
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, The Author
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Document type: Journal Article
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School of Psychology
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