Varied Protection Laws for Child Witnesses, and Other News

Mother comforting a child in her lapEvery year, 100,000 children testify in court. Their testimony can help convict child abusers, determine outcomes in custody cases, and provide vital eyewitness testimony in both criminal and civil cases. Many children face vulnerabilities when testifying in court—including publicly revealing traumatic or embarrassing memories, experiencing pressure from adults, and dealing with threats from family members. But according to a study published in Children’s Legal Rights Journal, measures to protect them vary between states.

Federal laws offer some guidelines, including allowing alternatives to live testimony, protections for children’s privacy, and the use of supportive adults. Yet states use a wide variety of approaches on key issues such as how frequently a child can be interviewed, whether children can be asked leading questions, admissibility of out-of-court statements, when a support person can be present, reliance on security blankets and other comfort items, and speedy trials involving child witnesses.

The study suggests several measures to protect children, including reliance on child advocacy centers staffed by trained forensic interviewers, using leading questions to help children understand questions, and permitting children to carry comfort items when testifying in court.

Hope for Reversing Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is often treated as a chronic and progressive illness with symptoms that can be managed, but not reversed or cured. However, a small study suggests type 2 diabetes could be reversed with strict lifestyle changes. Almost half of study participants who consumed a liquid diet went into remission for at least six months after completing the diet.

Britain Issues Warning for LGBT Travelers Visiting North Carolina and Mississippi

Governments around the globe routinely issue travel advisories designed to protect citizens traveling abroad. These advisories highlight concerns such as terrorism and infectious diseases, as well as risks to specific populations. Britain recently issued a travel advisory to citizens traveling to some southern states in the United States, highlighting both the diversity of the U.S. and the possibility that LGBT populations may face discrimination. The travel advisory also notes the extreme penalties some drug crimes carry in the U.S.

The Arctic Suicides: It’s Not the Dark That Kills You

Suicide rates in Greenland, particularly among Inuit youth, are among the highest in the world. But it’s not just dark days and cold temperatures that can lead to depression. The nation’s colonial history, poverty, rapidly changing lifestyles, and limited access to mental health care all appear to contribute to the suicide rate.

Good Cop, Bad Cop Doesn’t Work with Kids

Some parents believe aggressive, authoritarian parenting improves child behavior, but research suggests this parenting style can actually cause lasting damage—even when the other parent attempts to temper the problem by playing “good cop.” Researchers followed 451 children into adulthood, and found those with at least one very harsh parent weighed more and were in worse physical health as adults.

Need to Remember Something? Better Draw It, Study Finds

Students asked to use a variety of memory tactics to recall a list of words—including repeatedly writing it—were better able to remember the words when they drew pictures of them. The memory advantage held even when students had a mere four seconds to draw an image of the word.

Should Therapists Write About Patients?

Therapists often write about people in their therapy sessions in memoirs, self-help manuals, and even blog posts. Ethical norms dictate that people in therapy should not be easily identifiable based on the information provided, so therapists typically change people’s names and other defining characteristics. Gary Greenberg shares his experience with the long and arduous process of ensuring he did not reveal any identities in his writing, even inadvertently, as well as his own anecdote of writing about someone in therapy and being confronted when the person recognized the story. He suggests therapists may betray people in therapy when writing about them, no matter how clever they think the disguises are.

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  • Elspeth

    April 22nd, 2016 at 1:08 PM

    Why is there not a law that is just across the board and make things simpler for cases like these?

  • Catrina

    April 23rd, 2016 at 10:32 AM

    I’m so glad we don’t play the good cop bad cop thing

  • anthony F

    April 23rd, 2016 at 3:32 PM

    Everything we read may say that type 2 diabetes can’t be reversed but I am living proof that it can be. I can’t say for sure that I have undone all of the damage that I inflicted on my body over the years, but I have lost weight, I exercise, stopped smoking and have controlled my blood sugar with this regimen for close to four years. I don’t think that there is a doctor out there now who would say that I have ny of the lasting symptoms, and all it took were useful ( and hard!) lifestyle changes on my part. That is the answer, even though many people would still rather take medication to control it over doing the hard work to eradicate it.

  • Rena

    April 25th, 2016 at 2:47 PM

    Writing about the patients and the experiences that you have with them, what is working and what isn’t, can be a great tool for teaching others in their own practices. I say continue albeit with an ever vigilant attention to patient confidentiality.

  • Lorraine

    April 27th, 2016 at 2:08 PM

    I have been reading about the increase of suicide rates in the Arctic region too and if I was a parent or really any resident there then I think that I would be terribly concerned about what this kind of life was doing to my children. I know that for so many of them this is home and the thought of leaving has to be so overwhelming and nearly impossible given the lack of job skills and the poverty rates. But you would hope that at some point the governments of these countries could step in and provide either more resources or at least an ability for the families who want to move to be able to do so. Don’t you think that the native peoples of this region are at least owed this much given all that they have had to suffer throughout the years?

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