Dusunen Adam, vol.26, no.4, pp.367-375, 2013 (Scopus)
Objective: Inappropriate procedures or settings may cause secondary traumas in children and adolescents who are involved in justice systems. For improving the quality of assessments and preventing court-induced traumas, it is necessary to determine the existing problems. The aim of this study was to examine the problems with forensic assessments of children and adolescents, their causes, and possible solutions from the prosecutors' and judges' points of view. We also aimed to determine the collaboration problems from the legal authorities' perspective. Method: The present study was conducted in the City of Erzurum, which is one of the metropolitan cities of Turkey. Thirty-five prosecutors and 14 judges filled out a questionnaire assessing their problems in child assessments. Results: The results indicate that 87.8% of the prosecutors and judges had difficulties at child assessments but none of the participants had an education on child evaluation in law school while only 18.4% participated a post-graduate education program. 61.2% of the respondents indicated that there were problems in the application of the current law. Conclusion: Court induced trauma is a challenging issue for child and adolescent psychiatry. The skills of legal authorities on child evaluations and their cooperation with mental health professionals may directly influence the quality of legal processes. Vocational training programs, creation of direct channels to reach the mental health specialists, and reorganizing the faculty of law education programs may be useful in terms of prevention.