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September/October 2001Vol. 2, No. 5Former Prosecutor Produces Educational Video for Child Witnesses

Give children a child's eye view of court with a video developed for use by professionals and volunteers. Former prosecutor, Christine Downs, produced "Kids Go To Court" by combining live action and animation.

"As a former prosecutor of child abuse cases, I saw plenty of witnesses show up for court with little or no preparation for this very scary experience. Further, I've seen plenty of divorcing couples tell their kids that they're 'going to court.' This sounds very ominous if you don't know what happens there," said Downs. "So, I invented 'Kids Go To Court' as an easy, fun way to prepare child witnesses, or simply to educate kids about court."

The video features child and adult actors that stage a mock trial, showing the comparison with a game on a basketball court (e.g., lawyers are like coaches, judges are like referees). Footage from old movies, such as Laurel and Hardy, provides comedic reinforcement of court terminology. A real bailiff and judge also explain their roles. Child witnesses are encouraged to tell the truth, to ask for clarification if they don't understand a question, and to not worry about being punished.

"Going to court doesn't mean you've done something wrong, it just means telling the truth about what you know," states the video's narrator. "Trials are important to help people get along."

Order a copy of "Kids Go To Court" online at or contact producer Christine Downs by email at (Editor's note: this link is no longer available.)

Related Items

See the following related articles in these issues of the Children's Bureau Express:

  • "Preparing Kids for Court" (this issue)
  • "California Courts Produce Activity Book for Kids" (July 2000)