Introducing Expert Testimony in Sexual Violence Cases

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 educate the jury to make an informed decision based on a view of the evidence within an accurate context. This webinar describes the impact of trauma on victims, including cognitive and behavioral reactions, and discusses the effect of common victim behaviors on factfinders’ assessments of victim credibility. It discusses 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.

This webinar recording should qualify prosecutors for 1 hour of continuing legal education (CLE) credits. Prosecutors are encouraged to contact their state bar association in reference to application requirements and related fees.