Brief Report: Autism in the Courtroom: Experiences of Legal Professionals and the Autism Community

Katie Maras, Crane Laura, Sue Mulcahy, Tamsyn Hawken, Penny Cooper, David Wurzel, Amina Memon

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Online surveys were used to sample the views of judges, barristers and solicitors (n=33) about their engagement with autistic individuals in criminal courts in England and Wales. Despite an understanding of some of the difficulties experienced by individuals with autism, and the adjustments suitable for supporting them, legal professionals reported constraints arising from a lack of understanding by others within the criminal justice system. These results are considered alongside the views and perspectives of autistic adults (n=9) and parents of children on the autism spectrum (n=19), who had encountered the criminal courts as witnesses or defendants and were largely dissatisfied with their experiences. Training, understanding and the provision of appropriate adjustments were identified as key issues by all respondent groups.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2610-2620
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Autism and Developmental Disorders
Issue number8
Early online date18 May 2017
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017

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