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Am J Community Psychol. 1988 Aug;16(4):503-13.

The new sexual assault law: the victim's experience in court.

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Department of Psychology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


The questions asked of victims of sexual and physical assault by the prosecutor and defense were recorded and coded by courtroom observers. The defense in comparison to the prosecution treated both types of victims in a negative way. Sexual assault victims were subjected to more negative questions and required to give a more personal form of testimony than physical assault victims due to the strategies used by both the prosecution and the defense. Sexual assault cases were convicted less often than physical assault cases. It was concluded that the new law in Canada which replaced the offense of rape with one of "sexual assault" has not had its intended effect of reducing the burden on a victim when she testifies in court.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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