Adversarial Injustice: Cross-examination and the Dynamics and Impact of abuse
E. Hanson (Bristol GB)
This workshop explores how well cross-examination performs as a vehicle to uncovering the truth of crime – both generally and in particular when it comes to crimes of abuse (with a focus on childhood sexual abuse).
Research evidence will first be presented which indicates that cross-examination can lead to deceptions and distortions, especially when children are subjected to it. The workshop then goes on to explore how the dynamics and impact of abuse can compound the ineffectiveness, harm and injustice of cross-examination when survivors of abuse are subjected to it. Two particular areas here are spotlighted: invalidation of experience, emotions and selfhood; and language and memory for repeated childhood trauma.
The workshop will invite participants’ reflections throughout, however the second half will be particularly collaborative, exploring together ideas of what a just criminal trial process in cases of abuse might instead look like. There will be discussion of inquisitorial models (including their limitations) and suggestions for positive directions of travel. The implications of different criminal court approaches for prevention of abuse, and justice and therapy following abuse will be considered throughout.