Rape trauma experts in the courtroom

Laura E. Boeschen, Bruce D. Sales, Mary P. Koss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


This article analyzes the scientific legitimacy of using expert testimony relating to psychological sequelae of rape victimization in the courtroom and attempts to determine boundaries within which such testimony should remain to respect the limitations of current knowledge. Descriptions of the rape-related diagnoses currently used in expert testimony are followed by a discussion of the problematic issues associated with using rape trauma syndrome in the courtroom and a review of the validity and reliability issues associated with diagnosing posttraumatic stress disorder in forensic settings. The authors consider the scientific appropriateness of admitting different levels of rape expert testimony on the basis of the limitations of the scientific knowledge discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)414-432
Number of pages19
JournalPsychology, Public Policy, and Law
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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