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Witnesses: Autism

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 20 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice in how many criminal cases involving a witness with an autistic spectrum disorder a witness intermediary has been used (a) by the police prior to a trial or to a decision whether to proceed to trial and (b) by the courts in England in 2008; and in how many such cases prosecutions have been successful. (247787)

During 2008 13 referrals were made for the use of an intermediary where the witness’ communication needs fell under Autistic Spectrum Disorder. However data are not routinely collected as to the stage in a case at which an intermediary was used, either by the police or at trial. Nor are data collected on the outcome of cases in which an intermediary is used.