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Defendants with autism spectrum disorders: what is the role of court liaison and diversion?

Eddie Chaplin (Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities Research and Policy Unit, London South Bank University, London, UK)
Jane McCarthy (Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities Research and Policy Unit, London South Bank University, London, UK) (Danshell Group, London, UK)
Andrew Forrester (Offender Health Research Network, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK)

Advances in Autism

ISSN: 2056-3868

Article publication date: 2 October 2017

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Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to examine the role of liaison and diversion services working in the lower courts (also known as Magistrates’ courts) with regard to autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) and their assessment, in particular, the role of pre-sentence and psychiatric reports and interviews.

Design/methodology/approach

Current practice is described in the lower courts in the context of current legislation and procedures.

Findings

When writing reports, there is a need for expertise to offer an opinion on future risk, disposal and what needs to be in place to support people with ASDs. No assumptions should be made when reporting on the basis of an ASD diagnosis alone and each case must be assessed on its individual merits while ensuring that individual human rights are protected.

Originality/value

There is currently a sparse literature examining ASD in court settings. This paper seeks to clarify the current practice.

Keywords

Citation

Chaplin, E., McCarthy, J. and Forrester, A. (2017), "Defendants with autism spectrum disorders: what is the role of court liaison and diversion?", Advances in Autism, Vol. 3 No. 4, pp. 220-228. https://doi.org/10.1108/AIA-08-2017-0018

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2017, Emerald Publishing Limited