Introducing Expert Testimony in Sexual Violence Cases
Presented by Viktoria Kristiansson, AEquitas Attorney Advisor
The public has deeply-rooted perceptions about sexual violence and about how victims of sexual assault should behave. The realities of sexual violence are quite different. Experienced professionals familiar with the dynamics of sexual violence understand that victims have individual responses to trauma that are often counterintuitive to public expectations. Without the benefit of a proper explanation, however, jurors may wrongly interpret a victim’s actions during and after an assault as reasons not to believe the victim’s testimony. Expert testimony to explain victim behavior is often the best way to dispel myths and assist the jury to make an informed decision based on the evidence, viewed in its proper context.
This webinar described the impact of trauma on victims, including cognitive and behavioral reactions, and discussed the effect of common victim behaviors on factfinders’ assessments of victim credibility. It discussed the law related to the prosecution’s introduction of expert testimony on victim behavior, how to identify experts qualified to testify on this subject, and what the parameters of such testimony should be.
Allied justice system professionals, including but not limited to prosecutors, law enforcement officers, community-based service providers, medical and mental health practitioners, college campus professionals, probation and parole officers, and judges, are encouraged to view the webinar recording.
This recording should qualify prosecutors for one (1.0) hour of continuing legal education credits. Prosecutors are encouraged to contact their state bar association in reference to application requirements and related fees.
Click here to view the recording of this March 3, 2016 webinar.
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