The present study aimed to systematically examine the questioning of children in Italian criminal proceedings. 87 trial transcripts of 4- to 17-year-old children testifying as alleged victims of sexual abuse were analysed focusing on the differences of age with due regard for the type of questions asked and of witnesses’ responses. A total of 20,815 question-response pairs were identified. Results illustrated that age played an important role in the choice of questions asked and in the answers of the witness. In particular, younger children were asked more open-ended questions than older children and, in spite of this, they seemed to be more difficult to interview, because they provided more unresponsive instances, with misunderstandings and attempts to avoid answering questions. These findings have important implications in the way that children are examined in court.
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Italian court
- Social Psychology