Trauma, Memory and the Law
The European Journal of Psychotraumatology (EJPT) invites submissions to a special issue on Trauma, Memory and the Law
Survivors of trauma are more likely than others to find themselves having to deal with the law, and people with a traumatic history sometimes end up in the legal arena as a witness, victim, or defendant.1
In criminal trials, triers of fact (e.g., judges) have to base their legal decision-making on what eyewitnesses, victims, or defendants claim to remember about an experienced traumatic event. To claim recognition as a refugee or as a victim of childhood abuse, individuals must give a “plausible” account of their experiences, and legal decision-makers must decide on the truthfulness of the account.
But when retrieving a traumatic event, the perceived truthfulness may be reduced by behaviors associated with PTSD or other stress-related problems. At the same time memory might not be an exact copy of what was experienced. Besides small memory distortions, some individuals might have complete false memories for traumatic events (e.g., as a result of suggestive interviewing).2 This is complicated by defendants and plaintiffs lying about traumatic events or feigning PTSD symptoms to reduce their criminal responsibility or receive insurance money or sickness benefits. The question here is to what extent such feigning takes place and how to detect it.3
How to submit
EJPT and its guest editor invite original research papers (qualitative and quantitative), review articles, research articles and clinical practice articles on the following or related topics:
- The effect of trauma on memory in the legal arena (e.g., in a criminal prosecution of a perpetrator; a claim for compensation; or an application for refuge, child protection, or an official investigation into a disaster)
- The relationship between trauma and false memories
- The link between trauma, PTSD, and memory (distortions)
- Feigning of PTSD
- Detection of feigned symptoms
Why should you publish in EJPT?
- Increased readership - EJPT is an open access journal so your article will be openly published online for anyone to find, read and share, immediately increasing the audience for your paper.
- Greater public engagement - EJPT is published in association with European Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, a non-commercial organisation which contributes to public policy at a European level.
- Increased Visibility - EJPT is also indexed in a number of other databases, including the DOAJ, PubMed Central and SCOPUS, increasing the visibility of your research.
- Greater Impact - EJPT allows you to retain the choice of how people can reuse your article by using a CC-BY publishing licence, allowing researchers to quickly build on your research.
As EJPT is an open access journal, authors will need to pay an Article Processing Charge (APC). There is no submission fee. To find out more about the regular APC, please visit the Instructions for Authors.
- Prof. Henry Otgaar, KU Leuven/Maastricht University
- Prof. Marko Jelicic, Maastricht University
- Prof. Dr. Miranda Olff, Amsterdam UMC
1 Herlihy, J., & Turner, S. (2015). Untested assumptions: psychological research and credibility assessment in legal decision-making. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 6, 27380.
2 Otgaar, H., Howe, M.L., Merckelbach, H., & Muris, P. (2018). Who is the better eyewitness? Sometimes adults but at other times children. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 27, 378-385.
3 Van Impelen, A., Merckelbach, H., Jelicic, M., & Merten, T. (2014). The Structured Inventory of Malingered Symptomatology (SIMS): A systematic review and meta-analysis. The Clinical Neuropsychologist, 28, 1336-1365