Courtroom Perceptions of Child Sexual Assault: The Impact of an Eyewitness

Jonathan M. Golding, Kellie R. Lynch, Nesa E. Wasarhaley, Peggy S. Keller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


One hundred eighty-two undergraduates (96 women) read a summary of a child sexual assault (CSA) criminal trial involving a 6-year-old alleged victim. The trial summaries differed as to whether an eyewitness to the CSA other than the victim testified in court and the age of that eyewitness (6 or 36 years old). The results showed that the additional witness did not affect women’s pro-victim judgments, but significantly increased men’s pro-victim judgments. Furthermore, compared with women, men felt more anger toward the defendant when the additional witness testified. A follow-up experiment (43 women) included an additional witness who did not witness the CSA. The results of this follow-up showed that rather than the number of witnesses, it was the additional witness to the CSA that increased pro-victim judgments. The results are discussed in terms of how additional corroborating testimony in a CSA case affects men and women jurors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)763-781
Number of pages19
JournalCriminal Justice and Behavior
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 10 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 International Association for Correctional and Forensic Psychology


  • child sexual assault
  • child witnesses
  • juror decision-making

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Psychology (all)
  • Law


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