Trauma-Informed Direct Examination of Victims

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75 Minutes

Originally Aired
April 12, 2023

Kimberly Hardtke, JD
Assistant District Attorney
Regional Violence Against Women Resource Prosecutor

Extensive research demonstrates the effects of trauma on memory and the impact on a victim attempting to recall a traumatic event. While a trauma-informed interview is a key step in the process for law enforcement, these principles can equally be applied in a courtroom setting by conscientious prosecutors. Doing so not only mitigates the re-traumatizing effects that trials have on victims, but also helps the prosecutor elicit more valuable testimony to help prove their case. 

This presentation will address the challenges that a victim’s trauma can have on a prosecutor’s attempts to elicit testimony. The presenters will suggest methods for overcoming the difficulties that trauma poses during direct examination, and they will offer ideas for using the principles of trauma-informed interviewing to most effectively elicit testimony from a victim at trial.


As a result of this webinar, participants will be better able to:

  • Identify the effects that trauma has on memory and how lingering effects of trauma can impact a victim’s ability to testify at trial. 
  • Recognize the ways in which trauma is a barrier to eliciting effective testimony and use alternative questioning methods to overcome those difficulties. 
  • Apply trauma-informed interviewing techniques for a more effective direct examination.

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