Hallam academics awarded Crystal Scales of Justice prize

10th October 2023

A team of psychologists at Sheffield Hallam University has been awarded the Crystal Scales of Justice Prize for their board game that supports children giving evidence in court.

Based on their research, the team designed the Kids in Court Psychoeducational Tool (KiCPsy-Tool) which uses four mini board games to help children appear in court in alleged child sexual offence cases. 

Led by Dr Marilena Kyriakidou, the team were awarded the Council of Europe’s Crystal Scales of Justice Prize, which recognises innovative practice to improve the quality of the functioning of judicial procedures and the organisation of courts, particularly for their users.  

This tool was cocreated with community partners from Cyprus: The Hope for CRC Policy Center (Children’s House) and academic partners from the University of Nicosia. 

In 2020, 49% of child sexual offences did not appear in court because several children felt unable to support the completion of the process, the team aim to empower these forgotten children.  

The KiCPsy-Tool helps to improve children’s knowledge of the legal process, introduces them to the court environment using a 3D tour and helps to reduce court related stress and worries in a playful way.  

Dr Kyriakidou, from Sheffield Hallam’s Centre for Behavioural Science and Applied Psychology (CeBSAP), said:

“'I would like to express my gratitude to the entire Research Leads team, the Design Futures team as well as individuals who helped develop this tool. 

“Our community partners, Hope for Children who collaborated with us on this and our dedicated co-creators Dr Alexia Zalaf and Joanna Drousiotou deserve a special acknowledgement for their work on the project too.   

 “We have all dedicated personal time in this project, and it was challenging to do so, as a mum of a young girl and a full-time lecturer. Winning this remarkable award felt like a small miracle.” 

The team have tested the game with Children’s House in Cyprus and found that it helped to reduce children’s court related stress and increase their knowledge and improved how court staff and practitioners supported children.  

A promotional strategy is currently under way to implement the KiCPsy-Tool in the UK. 

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