Harassment, stalking, victim personal statements, child sexual abuse and eyewitness testimony. Psychological commentary applied to real magistrate and Crown Court cases

Project Report 2016 15 Pages

Psychology - Forensic Psychology, Penal System



Lincoln Magistrates Court: November 2016 – Issues: Harassment; Stalking; and Victim Personal Statements.
Case Summary:
Psychological Commentary: Harassment and Stalking
Psychological Commentary: Victim Personal Statements and Police Interviewing

Lincoln Crown Court: December 2016 – Issues: Child Sex Abuse and Eye Witness Testimony
Case Summary:
Psychological Commentary: Eye Witness Testimony:
Psychological Commentary: Impact of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA):

APA 6TH Edition References:

Court Report

The four chosen areas consist of harassment and stalking; Victim Personal Statements (VPS); child sexual abuse (CSA); and eye witness testimony.

Lincoln Magistrates Court: November 2016 – Issues: Harassment; Stalking; and Victim Personal Statements.

Case Summary:

Allegation of Assault – change bail conditions which prevents defendant from going down victim’s street of living. In this case ‘West Gate Street’.

It was alleged on the 27th August 2016 by Mrs B that Mr B had assaulted her in their family home. She reported this to Lincolnshire Police where they proceeded to arrest Mr B for assault. The bail conditions applied were that he was to have no contact with Mrs B for the duration of his bail, and that he was not to go down her street of living in Gainsborough. The Defendant and the Defence wish to appeal this decision due to an upcoming Family Court Case in Nottingham where the two need to be present, and likely discuss and liaise with one another. The Family Court hearing is due to commence on the 16th November with both of them needed present. Therefore the current bail conditions pose a problem to these proceedings, as argued by the Defence. Bail conditions should have been assessed by the Police in accordance with the Achieving Best Evidence in Criminal Proceedings Guidelines (MOJ, 2011). Guidelines that all UK police forces should abide by – contains approaches to interviewing suspects in criminal cases.

The Defendant – Father of two, not allowed down his partner’s street due to bail conditions. Defence seek to remove bail conditions.

Defence – The Defence bring forward their argument first as to why the bail conditions should be dropped completely. There are two keys reason that they cite.

1. The Defendant feels that it is unsafe for his children to be running down the street in the dark at this time of year. He believes this to be a potential risk and feels he should be able to drop them off outside their Mother’s house of residence.
2. The Defendant alleges that the street contains a garage that contains his possessions. He wishes to clear out that garage, and has been asked by the council to remove the possessions that are contained inside. The Defence feel it suitable that he be allowed four trips to the garage to remove his belongings.

The Defence solicitor sits down and the Magistrate proceed to ask the Prosecution to bring forward his victim’s grounds for refusing a change or dropping of the bail conditions on Mr B (Prosecution case).

The Prosecution states that they were unaware of the issues that Mr B has brought forward today. They had no such correspondence from the police on the issue of his possessions. No objections to the removal of belonging’s however the victim is concerned with the method of how that will be carried out.

The PC assigned to arrest Mr B and the Victim are not in favour of dropping his bail conditions that have been imposed for several reasons:

1. The victim claims that the garage only contains rubbish, with near to no useful or valuable belongings. She does not understand his need to access that garage. She feels this is an attempt for Mr B to ‘control the situation’ and ‘intimidate her’ by gaining closer and closer access to her presence.
2. The Police have issued in the past a police information notice to Mr B for previous harassment allegations that have been brought forward by the victim. He has been known to previously stand outside the property, and has acted, according to the prosecutor, ‘hawkish’ over the house.

Psychological Commentary: Harassment and Stalking

The use of control by male heterosexuals in relationships has been studied heavily (Dutton, 2006). There exists a body of literature from those who have been controlled and harassed by their boyfriend/ or ex-partnerthat show that men come to expect a degree of control in the relationship over their partners’ social affairs (Towns and Adams, 2009; Towns and Scott, 2013). For example, deciding what she wears to events, and even whether she attends an event. Feminist theory argues that this represents ingrained societal patriarchal control or terror over females by men (Pateman, 2014). Towns and Scott found that certain men need constant validation from their partners that females belong to the male figure – these men were found to objectify their female partner. For example, deciding where she goes, and what she wears – this analysis was concluded based on ex-girlfriends’ qualitative experiences of ex boyfriends who were abusive. When validation isn’t being given/ceases men can become involved in stalking behaviours to uncover the truth and maintain control over the relationship regardless of whether it’s ended. It is therefore disputable that the defendant in this case was using the legal system to obtain closer proximity to his former spouse in order to monitor her whereabouts and interactions.

The victim statement read out by the prosecution stated that the victim felt that the defendant was using material objects, including their own children to gain closer proximity to his ex-spouse. In this scenario, it involved wanting access to the street to drop the children off outside the mother’s home, and gain access to the house garage on the street. Harassment and stalking literature has been growing in the recent decade, and law enforcement in the UK and other western countries have started to address these issues legally (Tjaden et al, 2000). In the UK stalking is now identified as an offence under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 (Clarke et al, 2016). In the US they have gone a step further with the Violence against Women’s Act 1994 (reauthorized 2013), drawing a legal link between stalking, sexual assault and domestic abuse. Research shows that those stalked by ex-spouses are particularly vulnerable and at a higher risk of domestic violence (Johnson, 2009). In this case the victim was in a previous relationship with the defendant, this supports psychological literature that there is an increased likelihood of being harassed and stalked (Davis et al, 2000; Roberts 2002; McEwan et al, 2007). The evidence for dropping the defendant’s bail conditions was not reasonable, nor was it necessary to meet the demands of the defendant. One can assume that the magistrate took this into account in his final decision, and gave weight to the victim’s credibility in asserting this as a tactic of harassment by the defendant to gain closer proximity. Vulnerable victims in cases like this are now assessed for ‘special measures’ to be put in place for courts, they can use video-live links and other such equipment rather than encounter the defendant at court. The Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 offers these protections and measures for witnesses and victims in England, Wales and Northern Ireland Courts. However there are limitations, Hall (2007) in his study found that in several courts in the North of England using Grounded Analysis observation were applying special measures indiscriminately, and that the process was largely centralized as a one size fits all approach. A more individual approach was recommended, with less focus on the use of special video link machines which can prove unreliable, and make interpreting body language difficult – a factor that is a necessity for establishing rapport between all parties.



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ISBN (Book)
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776 KB
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Institution / College
University of Lincoln – University of Lincoln
HM Courts Magistrates Crown Courts Psychological Commentary



Title: Harassment, stalking, victim personal statements, child sexual abuse and eyewitness testimony. Psychological commentary applied to real magistrate and Crown Court cases