Juror common understanding and the admissibility of rape trauma syndrome evidence in court

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33 Scopus citations

Abstract

Expert testimony on rape trauma syndrome has been used in sexual assault cases to corroborate the victim's complaint and to educate the jury. One of the primary arguments against the admissibility of this testimony is that it is not helpful because most jurors are adequately informed about rape and rape victim behavior. To test this assumption, a Sexual Assault Questionnaire (SAQ) was administered to experts on rape and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and two nonexpert comparison groups. Results indicated that the nonexperts were not well informed on many rape-related issues and were significantly less knowledgeable than the expert groups. The data also showed considerable consensus among the experts about the current scientific database on rape trauma. The implications of these results for the use of expert psychological testimony on rape trauma syndrome in court are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-122
Number of pages22
JournalLaw and Human Behavior
Volume12
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1988

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