Working with People with Disabilities as Witnesses

Special training for law enforcement enables cases to be brought forward

Law enforcement and social services can work collaboratively in handling cases

Stereotypes exist about victims with disabilities not being competent witnesses

The harm that such stereotypes can cause to the credibility of a witness can be fatal to a case, particularly a case relying on eyewitness testimony.

References and Resources

Eyewitness Testimony and Perceived Credibility of Youth with Mild Intellectual Disabilities, Peled, Iarocci & Connolly (Oct. 2004)

Knowledge of legal terminology and court proceedings, Ericson & Perlman, (Oct. 2001)

Series of articles by Thomas D. Lyon, USC Law School, on children as witnesses.

Child witness in tort cases: the trials and tribulations of representing children
by Chris Messerly, William Mitchell Law Review, Number 24, number 1, 1998 (not available online)

Forensic Interviews of Children Who Have Developmental Disabilities, Anderson & Heath (July 2006)
Part 1
Part 2