​Giving the vulnerable a voice in the criminal justice system: the use of intermediaries with individuals with intellectual disability

Author(s) Hepner, Ilana, Mary N. Woodward and Jeanette Stewart
Title Giving the vulnerable a voice in the criminal justice system: the use of intermediaries with individuals with intellectual disability
Source Psychiatry, Psychology and Law; 2015; Vol.22, Issue p539-584
Date 2015
Document type Journal article
Coverage Australia
Summary In this article the authors discuss the needs of witnesses with intellectual disability (ID) and advocate for the introduction of an intermediary scheme in Australia, similar to the Registered Intermediary model developed in England and Wales. The supports available currently for vulnerable adults involved in the Australian criminal justice system are examined by the authors who suggest that these supports do not go far enough to support the communication needs of people with ID. In particular, current supports for vulnerable witnesses do not involve specially trained, registered and impartial professionals. The role of Registered Intermediaries (RI) in England and Wales is discussed and evaluations have been mostly shown to be positive. Areas that are not fully addressed include the ongoing education of legal practitioners regarding the onus of impartiality on the part of the intermediary and early identification of vulnerable witnesses to enable the early implementation of a RI. At the time of writing the article it was recognised that a number of Australian jurisdictions were considering the introduction of intermediaries.
Keywords Vulnerable witness; cross examination; intermediaries; intellectual disability; special measures; communication
Topic Vulnerable witnesses