Access to Justice for Children with Autism
MAKING IT FAIR FOR CHILD WITNESSES
People on the autism spectrum often display a characteristic pattern of memory difficulties; for example, they sometimes have trouble recalling personally experienced events and may experience problems when recognising faces.
They may also find it difficult to communicate socially; for example, they might struggle to hold conversations or make eye contact.
Taken together, these characteristics may call into question their abilities as criminal witnesses.
However, the few research studies that have been conducted on this topic have shown that, although autistic people recall less information about a witnessed event than non-autistic people, the information that they do provide can be just as accurate.
Our research wanted to extend these initial findings and conduct a more comprehensive investigation of how we can support autistic (and typically developing) children within a criminal justice context.