Mental Health, Autism & Learning Disabilities in the Criminal Courts

Information for magistrates, district judges and court staff

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Liaison and diversion summary


  • Liaison and diversion, and criminal justice liaison services will help to identify individuals with mental health conditions, autism, learning disability, communication difficulties, substance misuse problems, and other needs when they first come into contact with the criminal justice system.
  • Members of the judiciary and court staff should receive relevant information about individual defendants from liaison and diversion services in a timely way, and can request additional information should they consider it necessary.
  • Information from liasion and diversion services should be used to inform pre-sentence reports, prepared by the National Probation Services.
  • By 2018 there should be 75% population coverage of liaison and diversion services operating in police custody suites and the criminal courts, which should rise to full coverage by 2020/21. 

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