People with learning disabilities, like others in society, will come into contact with the criminal justice system, potentially as victims, witnesses or suspects.
This study set out to focus on police interviews and the capacity of adults with learning disabilities to give evidence in Court.
Research into the types of vulnerability seen by people interviewed by police have focused on interviewees’ understanding of the Oath and their legal rights, suggestibility, acquiescence, compliance and perceptions of the consequences of making self-incriminating admissions.
Testifying in court requires that the person can communicate effectively and give reliable answers and accounts of events.
The authors of this study point out however that research into police interviews has suggested that interviewee’s vulnerabilities need to be taken into account and that the provision of appropriate support with a more humane approach to interviews needs to be applied when vulnerable people testify in Court.
Interviewing adults with intellectual disabilities, Gudjonsson G &, Joyce T in Advances in Mental Health and Intellectual Disabilities, 5, 2, 16-21.