Brennan, Mark, The discourse of denial: aspects of language which characterise the cross examination of child victim witnesses in adversarial court proceedings, thesis, , University of Wollongong, 1993. http://ro.uow.edu.au/theses/3000
A study of the aspects of language which characterise the cross examination of child victim witnesses affords the c^portunity to respond to the question "How is language used to deny the experience of another human being and how is this signalled linguistically?" In that response data from a wide variety of stakeholders are brought together to provide an informed interpretation of the phenomenon of the child victim witness under cross examination. An empirical test of non court children's responses to court language provides the finding that children do not hear around half of what is addressed to them on such occasions. Other data and sources of information suggest that this finding is part of a general pattern of communication and one possible interpretation of that pattern is created through the postulation of 'the discourse of denial'. This discourse is described and a possible set of connections between levels of patterned behaviour, particular uses of language and their social consequences, is suggested. The study articulates a relationship between language and the construction of meaning and seeks to show how child victim witnesses, and what they might have to contribute to the court process, are marginalised. This articulation of language in use is informed by contextual information which is extended here to include the 'inner contex' of the experiences of the child victim witness.