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Experiences of going to court: witnesses with intellectual disabilities and their carers to speak up

Beckene, Tessy, Forrester-Jones, Rachel, Murphy, Glynis H. (2017) Experiences of going to court: witnesses with intellectual disabilities and their carers to speak up. Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, 33 (12). pp. 67-78. ISSN 1360-2322. E-ISSN 1468-3148. (doi:10.1111/jar.12334) (KAR id:48739)



People with intellectual disabilities are more vulnerable to sexual abuse and are more disadvantaged in the criminal justice system than the general population. However, little is known about the experiences of people with intellectual disabilities who have allegedly been victims of sexual abuse and also been witnesses in court.

Materials and Methods: This study used semi-structured interviews and a Grounded Theory approach to examine the experiences of four people with intellectual disabilities and four carers/supporters who had all attended trials.

Results: Findings showed that after the traumatic incident of abuse, a court experience could become a secondary source of trauma. Experience of this trauma was dependent on the quality and quantity of support people received and the understanding of intellectual disabilities amongst the legal participants.

Conclusion: The findings argue for better training for legal participants who are in contact with vulnerable witnesses and better support structures for alleged victims.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1111/jar.12334
Uncontrolled keywords: carer; court; intellectual disabilities; learning disabilities; sexual abuse
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research > Tizard
Depositing User: Rachel Forrester-Jones
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2015 13:41 UTC
Last Modified: 09 Dec 2022 06:39 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Forrester-Jones, Rachel.

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Murphy, Glynis H..

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