Access to Justice for People with Disabilities as Victims of Crime in Ireland

(05 Sep 2012)

The first component consists of a literature review drawing on both national and international literature. The review was used to explore the barriers that people with disabilities experience in accessing the justice system, the different legal instruments which frame the system of redress, and innovations in policy and practice as regards responsiveness to people with disabilities. In selecting international comparisons, common law countries with broadly similar judicial systems to Ireland were utilised, in particular the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK. The second phase of the research involved thirteen semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders in the arena of disability and justice, including representatives of the agencies of the criminal justice system.
Findings

  • The criminal justice system can be intimidating to a person with a disability
  • Gardai need to have the know-how to deliver disability-friendly services
  • Garda stations and courthouses may not be accessible to a person with a disability
  • The attitudes of judges and barristers is crucial. The assumption may be there that people with disabilities are not competent or credible witnesses

People with disabilities may be 'invisible' in the system because there is no systematic data collection on this aspect 

 



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