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See detailOpinions and practice of forensic psychologists about credibility assessment
Beerten, Jérôme ULg; Blavier, Adelaïde ULg

Poster (2011, May 27)

Assessing victim’s credibility is essential but very complex when physical evidence is lacking. The dual query of evaluating victim’s credibility and sequels and unclear mandates increase the confusion ... [more ▼]

Assessing victim’s credibility is essential but very complex when physical evidence is lacking. The dual query of evaluating victim’s credibility and sequels and unclear mandates increase the confusion. Similarly, the use of the controversial term “credibility” illustrates the different expectations of the various protagonists involved in the judicial process. The conditions of evaluation and the limitations of available methods and assessment tools make this task difficult for the forensic psychologists. In this context, our exploratory study aimed to understand how forensic psychologists actually performed their task. In 2007, we interviewed 11 forensic psychologists with a questionnaire on their training, their practice, their use of the different methods of assessment, their understanding of the concept of credibility, their perception of their role and the content of their forensic report. Different practices were observed, although a majority of forensic psychologists used the Statement Validity Analysis (SVA) and seemed to use the assessment tools within the limits of their duties. Despite the use of scientifically-validated tools, they gave a great attention and value to nonverbal behaviors and symptoms in their evaluation. Moreover, 5/11 forensic psychologists considered transmission of data about the reality and/or truth of the facts was an integral part of their mission. Another sample of 16 forensic reports we analyzed in parallel showed under-utilization of scientifically valid assessment tools of suggestibility and an overuse of SVA elements (e.g., without video-tape-recording). In conclusion, forensic psychologists seemed to support their conclusions more on a range of consistent elements than on scientifically-based salient information. [less ▲]

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