26 Children’s Legal Rights Journal [Vol. 36: 1 2016]
speedy trials; use of leading questions; allowing the presence of support persons; use of anatomical
dolls and diagrams; and allowing comfort items while testifying.
The analysis and suggestions presented in this Article seek to reduce stress and trauma felt
by children who must testify in court. The effects of testifying can last for months after the process
is over.282 Research and concern have primarily focused on the experiences of younger children,
as opposed to those of preteens and adolescents.283 While younger children are assumed to have
more trauma testifying due to the use of legal jargon and the formality of court proceedings, it is
equally likely that older children are struggling as well.
State statutes and case law on child witnesses and victims are diverse based on jurisdiction
and age of the child. The recommended model policy seeks to achieve congruity among states and
protect children through the court process. Prior to trial, the number of interviews a child undergoes
must be minimized and conducted by a trained forensic interviewer. During trial, courts must
prioritize cases to decrease potential negative effects of lengthy proceedings. To make the trial
process less anxiety-inducing, courts should permit leading questions for children under the age of
ten, along with making provisions for a support person and comfort item and the use of
The justice system often needs the testimony of children as victims or witnesses for acts
committed by adults. Given children’s youth and vulnerability, justice would be better served if
the child witness experience is made friendlier and less threatening. This leads to more reliable
child testimony and helps to ensure that the ends of justice are optimally serve.
282Lipovsky, supra note 11, at 249.
283Id. at 253.