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Webinar Archive:  Expert Witness Series


Prosecutors' Use of Expert Testimony to Explain Victim Behavior in Domestic Violence and

Sexual Assault Cases

Webinar date:  June 20, 2013



Sometimes when prosecuting a defendant in a domestic violence or sexual assault case, prosecutors realize that the victim's conduct may not comport with what many believe is "typical" victim behavior.  In these cases, what the victim did or did not do may seem bizarre, confusing, or otherwise inexplicable to potential jurors or the judge and, often times, severely undermines a victim's credibility.


This webinar describes common victim behaviors and dynamics in domestic violence and sexual assault cases as well as their impacts on fact finders' assessments of victim credibility.  The presenter summarizes the law related to the introduction of expert testimony by the prosecution to explain victim behavior and identify experts qualified to testify on this issue.  This webinar also highlights the importance of deciding whether to introduce expert testimony in a case.  In addition, it identifies ways to work with experts to prepare a case for trial even if the testimony will not be introduced.

Presenters discuss a) how to prepare even before taking your first case; b) what you need from the proffering attorney; c) why it's important to sharpen up your teaching skills; d) putting your "tool kit" together; e) getting ready for voir dire/qualification; and f) types of practical logistical information you'll need before going to court.


Learning Objectives
At the conclusion of this webinar, participants will be better able to:

  • Recognize victim behaviors that may require explanation at trial;

  • Manage personal biases or pre-conceived notions of expected victim behavior;

  • Educate judges and juries about victim behaviors and dispel myths;

  • Identify and work with experts to prepare a case for trial; and

  • Apply necessary law to be able to introduce expert testimony at trial (when offered by the prosecution).

About the Presenter

Christopher Mallios is an Attorney Advisor for AEquitas: The Prosecutors' Resource on Violence Against Women.  As an Attorney Advisor he presents on trial strategy, legal analysis and policy, and ethical issues related to violence against women at the local, state, and national level.  He conducts research; develops training materials, resources, and publications; and provides case consultation and technical assistance for prosecutors and allied professionals.

For more than 10 years, Mr. Mallios worked as a trial attorney and supervisor specializing primarily in the prosecution of crimes involving violence against women.  As the Chief of the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office Family Violence & Sexual Assault Unit, he prosecuted and supervised the prosecution of thousands of cases involving domestic violence, sexual assault, and child physical and sexual abuse.  Mr. Mallios also served as an advisor for the Philadelphia Police Department's Special Victims Unit and Internal Affairs Division.  The District Attorney selected Mr. Mallios to serve as her liaison to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Philadelphia, and as Hate Crimes Coordinator, he was responsible for training prosecutors and victim/witness coordinators and acting as a liaison to law enforcement and other government and private agencies.

During the three years he spent as a prosecutor/lobbyist in the Legislation Unit of the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, Mr. Mallios drafted and promoted legislation to benefit prosecutors, police, and crime victims in Pennsylvania's General Assembly on behalf of the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office and Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association.  Mr. Mallios has testified in many legislative hearings and has presented numerous training programs at Philadelphia's Police Academy and Detective Training Program.  He also trained many classes of volunteers at Women Organized Against Rape in Philadelphia.

Mr. Mallios is based in Philadelphia and is the Northeast Regional Attorney Advisor for AEquitas.  He has served as a co-chair of the Law Enforcement Subcommittee of the Philadelphia Domestic Violence Task Force, and was an active member of Philadelphia's Sexual Assault Advisory Council, which promoted a coordinated multidisciplinary response for victims of sexual assault.  In that role, he helped bring state-of-the-art rape kits and standardized medical record forms for sexual assault treatment in Philadelphia's emergency rooms.  Mr. Mallios was also responsible for training more than 300 prosecutors as the director of Continuing Legal Education at the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office, where he often taught programs on ethics for prosecutors.  He has been a frequent presenter for the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Institute and he has taught trial advocacy as an adjunct professor at the Beasley School of Law at Temple University and is currently an Adjunct Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice and an affiliate of the Ortner Center on Family Violence.

Mr. Mallios received his B.S. in Science from the Pennsylvania State University and his J.D. from Temple University School of Law.  He served as a law clerk on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, and is member of the bars of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Click here to access recording.  A copy of the PowerPoint (and any other documents from the webinar) is available by clicking here.

Click here to access recording (which includes the PowerPoint). 


A copy of the PowerPoint (and any other documents from the webinar) is available by clicking here.

This webinar series is supported by Grant No. 2011-TA-AX-K129 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, conclusions, and recommendations expressed in this publication/program/exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women.

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