Slipping the Surly Bonds of the Medical/Rehabilitation Model In Expert Witness Testimony

Main Article Content

Patricia A. Murphy


expert witness, sexual assault, medical model


This essay asserts that the new academic discipline of disability studies challenges the medical/rehabilitation models of disability and that this challenge has an impact on expert witness testimony.  This assertion is based on the author’s experience in a civil sexual assault trial involving a male resident of a group home facility assaulted by another male resident of the group home.  The author was surprised to find that her status as a visiting professor in the new academic discipline of disability studies trumped the testimony of the clinical expert witnesses, including a licensed psychologist, a behavioral specialist, and a case manager.
Abstract 216 | PDF Downloads 93 Word Downloads 121 Text Downloads 135


Krotoski, D.M., Nosek, M.A., & Turk, M.A.(Eds.). (1996). Women with physical disabilities: Achieving and maintaining health and well-being. Baltimore: P.H. Brookes Publishing Company.

Linton, S. (1998). Claiming disability: Knowledge and identity. New York: New York University Press.

Murphy, P.A. (1996). A career and life planning guide for women survivors: Making the connections workbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Murphy, P.A. (1993). Making the connections: Women, work and abuse. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Murphy, P.A. & Williams, J. M. (1998). Assessment of rehabilitative and quality of life issues in litigation. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

National Association of Protection and Advocacy Systems (1999, October 7).

Shapiro, J.P. (1994). No pity: People with disabilities forging a new civil rights movement. New York: Three Rivers Press.

Sobsey, D. (1994). Violence and abuse in the lives of people with disabilities: The end of silent acceptance? Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.

Sobsey, D. & Doe, T. (1991). Patterns of sexual abuse and assault. Journal of Sexuality and Disability, 9(3), 243-259.

Steinbeck, J. (1986). Of mice and men. New York: Viking Press.

Sullivan, P. M., Brookhouser, P.E., Scalan, J.M., Knutson, J.F. & Schulte, L.E. (1991). Patterns of physical and sexual abuse of communicatively handicapped children.

Annals of Otology, Rhinology, and Larngology, 100(3), 188-194.

Turk, V. & Brown, H. (1992, August 5-7). Sexual abuse of adults with learning disabilities. Paper presented at the Conference of the International Association for Scientific Study of Mental Deficiency, Brisbane, Australia.

Westcott, H. (1991). The abuse of disabled children: A review of the literature. Child Care, Health and Development, 17, 243-258.