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Children as Witnesses

Children can bear witness in many contexts. This entry focuses on just one of these contexts—the legal context (i.e., when children testify as part of criminal legal proceedings on events, they are assumed to have experienced in their past). Notably, the majority of child witnesses called in criminal proceedings are also victims of the alleged crime, which most frequently is a form of violence (including domestic abuse) or sexual exploitation. This entry does not address children’s participation in other types of civil or family law proceedings (including immigration law) or address children as witnesses of personal, historical, or political events more generally (e.g., witnesses of persecution, war, or natural disasters).

Against the backdrop of a historical outline, this entry discusses the key challenges children face as ...

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