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