Is Children's Testimony Reliable?
Assessing the reliability of children's testimony can be challenging, particularly when there is little corroborating evidence. Though even preschool aged children can make remarkably accurate witnesses, suggestibility does not have to be heavy-handed to influence children's reports, and false reports can contain convincing contextual detail. In addition, children's testimony is subject to other sources of error not related to suggestibility. In some cases children's reports can be incomplete, or lack the level of detail desired by investigators.
Assessing the reliability of children's testimony requires an understanding of how children's language and cognition interact with various case features and external pressures to shape the accuracy of their reports.