How to develop evidence based practice to support witnesses on the autistic spectrum (ASD) when they give evidence

Lali, Dionysia; Pike, Graham and Ness, Hayley (2018). How to develop evidence based practice to support witnesses on the autistic spectrum (ASD) when they give evidence. In: 2018 Conference of the Society of Evidence Based Policing, 1-2 Mar 2018.

Abstract

Current procedures for gathering evidence from witnesses can create significant anxiety to people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD), due to difficulties with memory, language, social interaction, communication and face recognition. This can impact on the quality of evidence provided. Working with ASD witnesses could also be stressful to police officers, as they are the first to interact with witnesses that could require special assistance, and it is therefore vital for officers to be able to identify and support ASD witnesses. This empirical study aims to address these issues by investigating police officers’ perceptions, knowledge and understanding about ASD individuals as witnesses, as well how this translates into their practice, and is to develop operational procedures to improve policing practice, particularly for eyewitness identification procedures. The project seeks not only to identify areas where improvement might be needed, but also to develop and test procedures which make the most of research evidence based practices.

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