AuthorLoree Armstrong Beniuk, Jo-Anne Hughes, and Jack Reynolds
As indicated in the introduction, we set out to write a book that will
ultimately benef‌it children and youth who, for any reason, are required
to give testimony in a criminal courtroom. We will have achieved that if this
book does in fact assist lawyers, judges, and police of‌f‌icers in the course of
their interactions with children and youth in the justice system; and if it
proves useful in the training of those who have newly joined organizations
that provide support for abused children and youth. We have also tried to
create a comprehensive piece for those studying in schools of social work
and in criminology or social psychology programs; for teachers who suspect
or learn that a student has experienced abuse; and for professionals and
politicians who make policy decisions.
Child abuse continues to be a problem of major proportions in Canada.
We acknowledge that progress has been made over the last three decades, as
the experience of children in the courtroom began receiving much-needed
aention through legislative reforms. This began to address the needs of
children called to testify in Canadian criminal courts. It became generally
accepted that, in order for children to be able to provide clear and candid
evidence, the court experience needed to be amended in order to improve
the experience for children and to decrease the likelihood of them being
revictimized by the justice system itself. This was a pivotal shi, as it was
also the beginning of research leading to new understandings of the magni-
tude of the problem of child abuse in Canada, as well as the potential of ser-
ious emotional repercussions for those required to testify in criminal court.

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