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Wendy Harvey and Anne Watson-Russell

Toronto, Butterworths, 1988. 41pp, paper, $7.95
ISBN 0-409-88913-X. CIP

Kindergarten to Grade 7/Ages 5 to 12
Reviewed by Maryleah Otto.

Volume 17 Number 4
1989 July

This guide is intended to prepare children for testifying as witnesses in child-abuse cases. The authors are an educational consultant and a lawyer with wide experience in child sexual assault cases.

The text is on two levels: bold-face type for five- to eight-year-olds to be used with an adult, and regular type for nine-to twelve-year-olds to read alone. The three chapters cover eighteen aspects of a court appearance, with emphasis on the seriousness of the event and the significance of being truthful.

The reader is taken through the trial step by step and there is a list of practical suggestions for making the experience easier. For example, a child is advised to wear comfortable clothing and bring a handkerchief, to locate the nearest washrooms and to bring a snack in case of a long delay before being called into the courtroom.

A glossary defines common legal terms; a list of questions to ask the police, the social workers and the prosecutor helps the child understand his rights as a witness. Fifty per cent of the book consists of explanatory illustrations done in Carlos Freire's familiar cartoon style. The drawings are in green on a cream-coloured ground.

Now in its second edition to reflect recent changes in the law, So. You Have to go to Court! is a clear, concise, non-frightening handbook that will be of great help to juvenile witnesses. The tone is sympathetic to a child's emotions and mindful of her anxieties.

Maryleah Otto, St. Thomas Public Library, St. Thomas. Ont.
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