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

Key Findings

There are three main stages for victims in the criminal justice system

  • Reporting the crime
  • Accessing justice through the courts
  • Experiences after the trial

The international evidence is that people with disabilities experience barriers at all three stages.

These may be

Structural barriers - how the different systems relate to each other. Who takes responsibility for supporting victims with a disability

Procedural barriers - it can be hard to navigate a complex legal system

Attitude barriers - key actors may have negative assumptions about the capacity of people with disabilities

Specifically Irish findings are that

  • 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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