The Expert as Witness
DOI link for The Expert as Witness
The Expert as Witness book
Anyone who evaluates children for sexual abuse should be prepared for the possibility of being asked to testify in court regarding his findings. This chapter is addressed to the relative novice who may not have had much experience in testifying in court. Testifying is a logical extension of our role as an advocate for the child. Further, the pediatrician or mental health professional is often in the position of knowing more about the case than others involved in it and, because of his credentials, his testimony may carry a great deal of weight. Resistance to appearing in court may stem from reality factors such as frequent delays, disruption to one's schedule, and difficulty getting paid. However, it is just as likely to result from ignorance regarding what is expected of the health professional in the role of expert witness and how the court functions, as well as distaste for having one's opinions challenged. This chapter will try to familiarize the reader with what is expected of the expert witness and thus help make testifying a less intimidating experience.