Now that video doorbells have taken over residential neighborhoods and businesses– both small and large– continue to rely on video surveillance systems, eyewitness accounts have come under scrutiny.
According to the Innocence Project, faulty eyewitness testimony was actually responsible for up to seventy-five percent of wrongful convictions in the U.S.
And unfortunately, most witnesses may not even know that they are providing wrong information. Our human memory is unable to seamlessly playback events like a YouTube video or Netflix series. Instead, the brain reconstructs memories each time they are recalled– much like a jigsaw puzzle being put back together.
So, in the age of technology, footage caught on camera tends to be a much more concrete form of evidence.
Still, though, what happens when a crime occurs behind closed doors and there are no cameras present?
This question often represents the circumstances that many child witnesses, unfortunately, find themselves in. And when a child is forced to tell their story, it is often because their testimony is the only evidence available in a case.
This means that understanding exactly how children can be reliable witnesses crucial– both for their own safety and the security of the greater public. And it all starts with authorities’ approach to questioning.
Child Witnesses Under Typical Questioning
When police officers launch a forensic interview with any witnesses, including children, they first ask them to freely recall anything and everything they remember about the situation.