Jurors’ Sexual Abuse Experience, Empathy, and Child Sexual Abuse Case Judgments: Meta-analyses
Jones, Tayler M
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Meta-analyses were conducted in the first study of how jurors’ sexual abuse experience affects empathy and child sexual abuse case judgments. Multiple mock trial studies of student jurors (N=2,447, 53% women, 17% victims of sexual abuse, 39% knew a victim) were examined. Mock jurors reported their child victim empathy, considered a hypothetical case, reported belief in the abuse, made victim credibility attributions, and provided degree-of-guilt judgments. Meta-analyses revealed that, compared to others, abused jurors and those who knew victims had greater empathy, which in turn led to more perceived victim credibility and defendant guilt. Neither abuse experience nor empathy for child victims affected mock jurors’ belief in victims’ sexual abuse allegations. Implications for clinical theory and legal practice (voir dire) are discussed.
SubjectChild sexual abuse
juror decision making