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Child Victims and Witnesses Support Materials: What is Your Job? In Criminal Court

NCJ Number
300642
Date Published
June 2021
Agencies
OVC
Annotation

This book, which is intended to be read by children ages 2-6 who may be victims or witnesses in a criminal case, explains the roles of people with whom a child may interact or hear about during the investigation and in criminal court proceedings.

Abstract

The book provides the following introductory statement to the child reader: “You’re probably meeting lots of different grown-ups now. This book will show you who some of them are and what their jobs are. It will tell you what your job is, too.” The job of “police” is portrayed as that of keeping people safe, which involves asking the child questions about an event in which the child was hurt or saw someone else being hurt. The “victim advocate” is portrayed as helping the child and her/his family understand what has happened, determine how they have been hurt by the crime, and guide them in receiving help for harms caused by the crime. The “defendant” is portrayed as having been accused of breaking the rules. The ”judge” is portrayed as being in charge of what happens in the courtroom. The ”jury” is portrayed as “grown-ups” who decide as a group whether the defendant broke the rules and will be punished. Other job descriptions singled out for the book are the prosecutor, defense attorney, and the court personnel the child may see in the court (court officer, court reporter, and language interpreter). The role of the victim and witness in court proceedings are also interpreted from the child’s perspective.  The book’s statement of the child’s role as victim or witness in the criminal case is “to answer questions and tell the grown-ups what you know.”

Date Created: April 5, 2021