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Preparing for Court as an Expert Witness: The Science and the Art

This is a FREE web-based training event.   

To register click here.  (Download flyer)

Date: Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Time: 10:00 am - 12:00 pm (PT)

The California Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (CAPSAC) and the Child Abuse Training and Technical Assistance Centers (CATTA) Training Project is hosting a webinar titled, Preparing for Court as an Expert Witness: The Science and the Art presented by Tom Lyon, JD, PhD and Blake Carmichael, PhD on Wednesday, May 26, 2021 from 10:00 am - 12:00 pm PT.

Forensic interviewers, mental health professionals and other multi-disciplinary team members provide a number of valuable services, and the focus is often on determining the facts of the case or improving a client’s well-being. Sometimes professionals will be asked to serve as expert witnesses in court, and play a quite different role. Focusing on child sexual abuse accommodation testimony as a model, this training will give attendees an understanding of the legal issues, the  relevant research, and the practical challenges of testifying as an expert. Although this training is not intended to ensure that a team member will be qualified as an expert witness, it will help them navigate the legal process as a witness and prepare them for situations when expert witness testimony is requested.

By the end of this webinar participants will be able to:

  • Describe the legal standards for testimony about child sexual abuse accommodation
  • Summarize the research relevant to explaining accommodation
  • Differentiate between the different types of court and witness roles
  • Use at least three concrete steps to prepare for offering testimony in court
  • Understand and respond appropriately to questions from the defense and prosecution

Thomas D. Lyon, J.D., Ph.D. is the Judge Edward J. and Ruey L. Guirado Chair in Law and Psychology at the University of Southern California. His work has focused on maximizing children’s productivity as witnesses while minimizing error. He is the Past-President of the American Psychological Association’s Section on Child Maltreatment and a former member of the Board of Directors of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children. His work has been supported by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the United States Department of Justice.

Blake D. Carmichael, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist, Evaluation Program Manager, and Voluntary Clinical Faculty in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California Davis Children’s Hospital, CAARE Center. For the past 20 years, he has provided expert witness testimony and consultation regarding child sexual abuse disclosure, the effects of trauma on children, and related topics. He has provided direct mental health and evaluation services to several hundred maltreated children and their families. He is nationally certified as a TraumaFocused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy therapist. He also supervises and trains clinical staff, doctoral interns, and post-doctoral fellows in the CAARE Center’s APA accredited training program.

If you have any questions or comments please contact Daphne Daniel at

Co-sponsored by the California American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (CAPSAC). Produced by the CATTA Center, a project of the Center for Innovation and Resources, Inc. with funding provided by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES), Victim Services Branch.

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