Iain Dickie Shirley Reveley Austin Dorrity


This paper reports on interviews undertaken with four adults with a diagnosis of autism, about their experiences of engaging with regional Criminal Justice Services (CJS) as victims, witnesses or perpetrators of a crime. Participants were recruited through an autism-specific charity, Triple A Project (All About Autism). These interviews comprised the second phase of a two-stage project; the first phase involved interviews with members of the charity and revealed differences in perceptual frames of reference between individual participants with a diagnosis of autism and CJS professionals that led to miscommunication and misunderstanding.  Key findings from the research suggest that specific challenges with lateral thought and interpretation can mean that individuals on the autism spectrum are potentially vulnerable to finding themselves implicated as perpetrators or victims of a criminal act.  This research represents an important development concerning the question of autism and criminality; the researchers sought to extend the academic discourse beyond an examination of the perspectives of professionals to give voice to the perspectives of experts by experience with a diagnosis of autism.