Young Complainant Witnesses in New Zealand: Experiences and Innovations

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dc.contributor.advisor Seymour, F en Randell, Isabel en 2017-08-03T21:29:22Z en 2017 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description.abstract Most young witnesses in New Zealand are complainants in trials for offences of a sexual nature. For effective provision of justice it is important that young witnesses are involved in criminal trials, yet participation may be detrimental to their wellbeing and presents challenges for gaining their full and accurate evidence. This research included two related projects: one aimed to better understand the experiences of young complainant witnesses and their families, and the other evaluated recent innovations with regard to trials involving young witnesses at the Whangarei District Court. Both studies were qualitative in nature and used thematic analysis to analyse data. Study One involved interviews with four young complainant witnesses and ten parents of young complainant witnesses. Nine themes were identified: pre-trial delay makes everything worse; uncertainty is difficult and being prepared is important; cross-examination is stressful; having a voice is a positive aspect of the trial; the possibility of seeing the defendant is stressful; for parents, putting on a brave face and being a supporter is challenging; young witnesses feel exposed by the court process and family members feel exposed to details of the offending; support is critical; and families place importance on the verdict and sentencing. The focus of Study Two was the Whangarei Young Witness Pilot Protocol which was implemented by judges in the Whangarei region in late 2014 with aims of decreasing the negative impact of the court process for young witnesses and enhancing the quality of evidence that they provide. Individual and group interviews were conducted with 29 practitioners involved in court trials with young complainant witnesses including judges, lawyers, police, victim advisors and court support staff. The majority of participants believed that the protocol had valid intentions and was beneficial for young witness wellbeing and evidence. Resistance to the protocol was largely from defence lawyers who expressed concern that cross-examination would be restricted. Participants expressed a need for flexibility, clarity, and education concerning the protocol in order for it to function more effectively. All participants identified a need to address pre-trial delay, consistent with the concerns of young witnesses and their parents. The findings indicate that there is positive shift towards better protection of young witnesses in New Zealand, but that there is still much to be done. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.relation.isreferencedby UoA99264921990402091 en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher. en
dc.rights.uri en
dc.title Young Complainant Witnesses in New Zealand: Experiences and Innovations en
dc.type Thesis en Clinical Psychology en The University of Auckland en Doctoral en PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
dc.rights.accessrights en
pubs.elements-id 644440 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2017-08-04 en

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