the effect of hearsay witness age in a child sexual assault trial

Jonathan M. Golding, Mary C. Alexander, Terri L. Stewart

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


This study investigated the effect of a hearsay witness on perceptions of an alleged victim in a sexual assault trial. Male and female participants read a fictional criminal court case summary involving a sexual assault, in which a 7-, 16-, or 25-year-old hearsay witness testified on behalf of a 6- or 15-year-old alleged victim. The prosecution case included the testimony of 1 primary witness: the alleged child victim, a hearsay witness, or a clinical psychologist. A post hoc control group had no primary witness. The hearsay witness led to as much support of the alleged victim as the child and the expert witness and more support than the control group. Women were consistently more supportive of the alleged victim than men. A 3-way interaction of age of hearsay witness, age of alleged victim, and sex of participant was discussed in terms of the effect of these factors on how mock jurors use hearsay testimony in a child sexual assault trial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)420-438
Number of pages19
JournalPsychology, Public Policy, and Law
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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