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Perceptions of credibility of sexual abuse victims across generations

journal contribution
posted on 01.01.2016, 00:00 authored by Bianca KlettkeBianca Klettke, David HallfordDavid Hallford, David MellorDavid Mellor
The success of prosecutions of perpetrators of sexual abuse often depends substantially upon the perceived credibility of the victim witness. However, perceptions of credibility may vary by generation of the observer, and the constitution of juries may therefore lead to bias. In this study we examined whether perceptions of credibility of female victims of sexual abuse varied across generation Y, generation X, "baby boomers", and "builders". One hundred and twenty-eight jury-eligible members of the community from each generation (N=512) responded to ten questions assessing the perceived believability, competence, trustworthiness, demeanour and sexual naiveté of females providing testimony related to alleged sexual abuse. Although consistent between-generation differences were not found for all questions, or all four groups of generational cohorts, in instances where significant differences were found, it was consistently the older generation groups (builders and baby boomers) that attributed less credibility to the victim than the younger generation groups (generation Y and generation X). The implications of these findings are discussed.

History

Journal

International Journal of Law and Psychiatry

Volume

44

Pagination

91 - 97

ISSN

0160-2527

eISSN

1873-6386

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal; C Journal article

Copyright notice

2015, Elsevier