Cases involving children can often be complex and highly sensitive; so many legal professionals enlist help from a child psychology expert witness. Child psychologists deal with the impact of a child’s development on their behaviour. Their insights into how a child’s mind works and what factors have influenced their behaviour provide enlightening evidence in a range of situations; from investigating persistent misbehaviour in a school setting, to providing possible explanations for criminal behaviour committed by children. With youth offenders’ institutions at breaking point, child psychologists play an important role in ensuring that the most suitable course of action is taken to avoid exacerbating the problem.
Between birth and adolescence, children undergo a rapid period of cognitive development. Child psychologists attempt to make sense of every aspect of children’s’ development, including how children learn, think, interact and respond emotionally to those around them, make friends, understand emotions and their own personalities, temperaments and skills. Their behaviour and personality is predicated on their experiences during childhood, so if they are brought up in an abusive environment they are less likely to develop a sound understanding of right and wrong, and more at risk of developing anger management issues.
The primary goal of a child psychologist is to find reasons for a child’s behaviour. Child psychologists use their skill and knowledge of the human mind to assess whether external factors have led them to commit a crime. They take into account a range of issues, such as parenting, family dynamics and the effect of any developmental problems. Child psychologists undertake in-depth psychometric and neuropsychological assessments in order to gain an understanding of the child’s emotional and behavioural state, and through conversation with the child, they also aim to identify whether any social factors such as bullying or peer pressure might have influenced their behaviour.
Children commit crimes for many reasons, and the role of a child psychologist is to identify what possible factors led them to criminal activity. These insights can prove invaluable to defence solicitors representing children. The report of a child psychology expert witness can help build a convincing case to the court, and identify a recommended course of action which takes into account the child’s psychological state. The worsening conditions within youth offenders’ institutions and limited opportunities for rehabilitation mean that the evidence of a child psychologist could make the difference between a child changing their ways and becoming a healthy adult, and a child caught in the cycle of reoffending.
Child psychology aims to answer questions about a child’s emotional and behavioural state. Only a trained professional is able to provide the explanations sought after by parents, legal professionals and courts. At Foresight, we have an extensive network of child psychology expert witnesses to aid legal professionals in a range of cases. Using our services can save you time and money, so if you have any child psychologist requirements, please get in touch.