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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 35 (1993) 6

New research

The juvenile delinquent and the adolescent psychiatrist as an expert witness in court proceedings

Th.A.H. Doreleijers, F.J.G. Coelman, P. Blanken

The juvenile (criminal) law in The Netherlands aims at prevention of recidivism and it pretends to provide help to youngsters. The seriousness of psychic disorders in this group seems to increase while the age of first offenders decreases. The facilities for proper assessment are limited. Moreover, in the court proceedings there is no protocol when the judge wants to refer accused young people for forensic assessment. In a retrospective follow-up survey among 30 youngsters who had been assessed two to seven years before, the experiences with the expert witness reports have been evaluated.

In this survey it became clear that many juveniles are still functioning poorly at follow-up. Sometimes they have been traumatized by the delict and the judicial consequences. Help is needed in more cases.

Finally, a prospective survey is outlined that aims to yield directions for future policy.