Just in case...Parental guidelines in case your child is testifying in court

Testifying in court, while difficult and trying for many adults, may be a highly traumatic experience for a child victim of abduction or sexual exploitation. Repeated questioning, lengthy delays, testifying in front of the accused, and other legal requirements may be intimidating and can increase the child's anxiety and sense of helplessness. While we want victimized children to work through their trauma and eventually put bad memories behind them, the legal system demands that they recount their victimization and hold the memory of the event fresh in their minds for a time.

Not all children suffer such trauma, however, and many children and families have benefited from new procedures that enhance their participation in the legal process. Many witnesses derive great satisfaction from helping to bring the facts of the case to light and ensuring that justice is done.

This page is intended to help parents prepare their children to testify successfully in court. Included are an explanation of the courtroom process, a discussion of current reforms to help child witnesses testify, advice on preparing your child to testify, considerations in dealing with legal professionals, and suggestions for aftercare following the trial.