This paper discusses the theory behind the provision of special measures for youth witnesses in criminal proceedings. Secondly, it analyzes developments in youth justice over time in legislation and in the judiciary. It also examines the failings of the youth justice system with an emphasis on possible oppression and discrimination in the provision of its services. Ideologies and theoretical Constructs of Youth justiceAccording to Muncie (2009) exposure of children to the harshness of the criminal justice system stresses their mind very much. Plotnikoff and Woolfson (2004) note that extracting evidence from children affects their emotional well being, while the evidence given may not be actually objective.
Care then should be taken to shield children from aggressive evidence gathering and close-examination in courts. Although children are subjected to rigorous examination when evidence is being collected, Bull (1998) shows that methods that are lighter on their minds are effective in obtaining objective information. Bull (1998) show that children resist suggestive questioning that leads them away from the truth. According to Bull (1998), children remember stressful events with more clarity than other events that occur around them.
Specific questions are likely to cause trauma to children as they remember the disturbing event. However, even with questions that are neither specific nor, leading, children are still able to reconstruct events that can enable evidence to be gathered easily (Birch, 1992). Bull (1998) alleges that it is hard for children to falsify evidence which is related to sexual abuse. Therefore, these psychological characteristics of children make it unnecessary for probing questions that seek to verify the accuracy of statements of juveniles who are testifying. Children have been found to live in fear of criminal offenders and are afraid to meet or identify criminals.
In an experimental setting, only 33 per cent of child witness could identify a man they had witnessed stealing a box of money (Bull, 1998). 58 per cent of the children in the experiment said the suspect was not present in the simulated parade (Bull, 1998). Most of the children cited fear as the reason they declined to pick out the offender from the line-up.
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