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Title: Memory under cross-examination of children with and without intellectual disabilities
Author: Bettenay , Caroline
ISNI:       0000 0004 2733 7471
Awarding Body: London South Bank University
Current Institution: London South Bank University
Date of Award: 2010
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Little research exists into children‘s performance under cross-examination (Zajac, 2009). No research is available on the resilience to cross-examination of children with Intellectual Disabilities (ID), nor with Borderline ID, and these children rarely get their day in court (Kebbell & Hatton, 1999). This thesis explored the factors influencing children‘s performance in two forensically relevant interview situations, as a function of their level of cognitive ability. Children with ID and Borderline ID were compared to typically developing children of the same chronological age on their abilities to produce gist and verbatim evidence in interviews utilising the Achieving Best Evidence (ABE; Home Office 2007) protocol. Children with ID committed more errors and provided less verbatim information than their typically developing peers, however no differences were found with gist recall, and they matched their mental age counterparts on all measures. No differences in performance were found between the Borderline ID group and the typically developing children of the same age on any measure. After a realistic delay of 10 months (mimicking the conditions in real world court systems), and using barristers-in-training to conduct the sessions, mock cross-examinations (N=86) were undertaken to determine the relative resilience to cross-examination of these vulnerable groups. Children with ID and Borderline ID did not differ overall in their resilience to cross-examination, and were no more likely to change their responses to earlier testimony than typically developing children of the same age. One area of weakness in those with ID mirrored that of their evidence-in chief; children were less likely t o withstand cross-examination on verbatim details when challenged on true versus false events compared to typically developing children of the same age, and Page 10 of 323 those with Borderline ID. Standardised measures of anxiety and suggestibility were shown to correlate with some measures of performance in both interviews, and the findings are discussed. Children with Borderline ID equalled their typically developing peers on all cross-examination measures.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available