Many defendants and witnesses in the criminal courts have mental health conditions, learning disabilities or other support needs. Some courts have a coordinated approach to recognising when defendants might have particular support needs but this is not always the case. The development of liaison and diversion services should begin to change this. Further information on liaison and diversion services can be found in Section 13: Liaison and diversion services (England) and criminal justice liaison services (Wales).
Recognising and meeting a defendant’s support needs are important in ensuring they are not unfairly disadvantaged or discriminated against during court proceedings.
The Equal Treatment Bench Book (ETBB) notes:
...there are many potential sources of discrimination and not being heard or being misunderstood by the judge is as discriminatory as an inability to access a court or tribunal building (Judicial College, 2013).
For further information on the Prison Reform Trust:
Phone 020 7251 5070Email firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information on Rethink Mental Illness:
Phone 0300 5000 927Email email@example.com
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