Facilitating access to justice: Exploring the experiences of autistic individuals arrested and detained in police custody

Holloway, Chloe (2019) Facilitating access to justice: Exploring the experiences of autistic individuals arrested and detained in police custody. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis explores the lived experiences of autistic individuals who have been arrested and detained in police custody as suspects of a criminal offence. It examines the difficulties that autistic individuals encounter in this setting and the support they may receive to manage these difficulties. In particular, it considers whether the safeguards outlined by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 and Code of Practice C effectively support autistic individuals throughout the custody process.

To address this, this thesis outlines the findings of three studies: i) an internet survey ii) semi-structured interviews and iii) a participative walkthrough. These findings highlight the difficulties autistic individuals experience in police custody associated with their perceived lack of criminal intention and the punitive effect of arrest and detention. They also identify a range of additional stresses experienced by autistic individuals during their detention connected to the demands of the custody setting and a lack of appropriate support. Due to the combination of these difficulties, this thesis emphasises that autistic individuals may find it difficult to cope with detention which may also affect their ability to participate in the custody process.

In light of these findings, this thesis argues that the right of autistic individuals to equal access to justice as affirmed by Article 13 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (‘CRPD’) is being compromised. To facilitate this, this thesis proposes several ways of supporting autistic individuals in police custody. While some of these recommendations can be implemented at a practical level, to ensure that autistic individuals will be supported appropriately this thesis concludes by making a case for legislative reform.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Jackson, John
Munro, Nell
Ropar, Danielle
Keywords: Autism; Police; Criminal Justice; Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984; Equality Act 2010; CRPD; Disability
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Law
Item ID: 56044
Depositing User: Hocking, Chloe
Date Deposited: 16 May 2023 08:20
Last Modified: 16 May 2023 08:20
URI: https://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/56044

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