Perceptions of elder physical abuse in the courtroom: The influence of hearsay witness testimony

Emily E. Dunlap, Jonathan M. Golding, Emily C. Hodell, Dorothy F. Marsil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


A community sample of 226 participants (41% men, 59% women) who answered questions about a trial summary that manipulated what type of witness (a 45-year-old hearsay [second-hand information based on the report of a crime victim] witness, a 75-year-old hearsay witness, or the 75-year-old victim) presented an allegation of elder physical abuse. Overall, participants who read the testimony of a 45-year-old hearsay witness had higher conviction rates than participants who read the testimony of the 75-year-old hearsay witness or the elder victim. Additionally, participants who had previously been victims of abuse and/or who had positive attitudes toward elderly people rendered more pro-prosecution verdicts. Finally, as the age of the participant increased so did conviction rates.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-39
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Elder Abuse and Neglect
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 10 2007

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Data for this study were collected from southern metropolitan areas with the support of a Faculty Research Grant from the University of Kentucky.


  • Elder abuse
  • Hearsay witness
  • Juror decision-making
  • Juror perception
  • Witness credibility

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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