Admissibility of repressed memory evidence by therapists in sexual abuse cases.

by Jonathan David Gordon on Dec. 04, 2017

Divorce & Family Law 

Summary: Admissibility of repressed memory evidence by therapists in sexual abuse cases.

The surfacing of repressed memories and resultant allegations of childhood sexual abuse is analyzed in the context of the evidentiary admissibility of the proffered expert testimony by therapists. To be admissible, such expert testimony must comply with the criteria set forth by the Supreme Court in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The literature on repression and repressed memories is reviewed in light of various therapist techniques used with clients presenting complaints of lost memory. The scientific efficacy of these suggestive techniques, and the frequently false memories of childhood sexual abuse that ensue, is cause for concern regarding their evidentiary reliability, and such testimony fails the Daubert criteria for the admissibility of expert testimony. Suggestions are made to assist judges in their evidentiary gatekeeping role. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)

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