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When the Smoke Clears: Cross-Examining the Defense Expert's Attack on a Forensic Interview

NCJ Number
Date Published
15 pages

This document provides information and rationale for the methods of cross-examining defense experts’ attacks on forensic interviews of child abuse victims, who may be too young to be mature enough to withstand credibility attacks.


This document aims to prepare prosecutors for the cross examination of a defense expert’s attack on a forensic interview of child abuse victims. The document provides information on the preparation process for cross examination, stressing the importance of pre-trial motions and providing forensic interview standards and guidelines, and ten tips for successfully cross examining the defense expert.

The document emphasizes the importance of prosecutors attending forensic interviewing courses, staying abreast of the literature, and otherwise being fully prepared to respond to unwarranted attacks on the credibility of a child or a child’s outcry of abuse; and notes that prosecutors can successfully counter those attacks on a victim’s credibility by conducting thorough direct examinations of the government’s forensic interviewer as well as a rigorous cross examination of the defense expert.

Date Published: January 1, 2022