Work in Progress Report: Virtual Courtroom to Prepare Victims of Sex Crimes for Court Proceedings
PubDate: July 2019
Teams: Reykjavik University
Writers: Helga Margrét Ólafsdóttir；Edit Ómarsdóttir；Hafdís Sæland；Hannes Högni Vilhjálmsson
Sex crimes and aggravated assaults are some of the most difficult cases to be tried in court, especially for the victims that need to take the witness stand in the presence of the accused, the judge and other participants of the proceedings. Victims are already strained by the nature of their situation, and the additional burden of needing to face their alleged perpetrator again under unfamiliar circumstances and become the focus of everyone’s attention, can become overwhelming and cause severe anxiety. Today, courtrooms are sketched on paper to prepare the victims, e.g. by showing them a seating arrangement, but the effectiveness of this method has been questioned. Therefore, an ongoing pilot project, in close collaboration with the police, the court system and psychologists working with young victims of sexual assault, is exploring the use of an interactive court proceedings simulation in VR. The simulation involves a recreation of the exact location of the planned proceedings, as well as some of the social factors, using virtual humans. This extended abstract describes work in progress, focusing on the motivation for doing this, why this might be an effective approach, and a working prototype.