• The Public’s Perceptions of Individual’s with Autism Spectrum Condition in the Criminal Justice System

      Mattison, Michelle L. A.; Taylor-Diparno, Elizabeth A. (University of Chester, 2017)
      Jurors play an essential part in the Criminal Justice System in England and Wales (Citizens Information Board, 2017), however research so far highlights that jurors perceptions of a witness can impact their decision making (Peled, Iarocci, & Connolly, 2004). To gain further insight into the impact of these perceptions, specifically in regards to vulnerable witness with autism spectrum condition (ASC), an online study was designed to examine whether these perceptions implicate the witness’s perceived credibility. This study examined whether having the knowledge of the children’s developmental status, impacted the potential jurors decision making in regards to four transcripts they had read; concerning a child being asked to recall events they had watched on a video. Fifty-four participants were requested to initially complete a self-report questionnaire, establishing their overall views of individuals with ASC; based on the Societal Attitudes towards Autism Scale (Flood, Bulgrin, & Morgan, 2013). The participants were then asked to complete one questionnaire after reading each child’s transcript; based on eight credibility characteristics (Henry, Ridley, Perry, & Crane, 2011). The results showed a significant interaction between the children’s developmental status and the disclosure of their developmental status in regards to the potential juror’s perceptions of the vulnerable witness credibility, in respective to all eight credibility characteristics. In addition, the research also found that there was a significant relationship between the potential juror’s scores on the Societal Attitudes towards Autism scale and the disclosure of ASC in regards to the vulnerable witnesses’ perceived credibility, across five of the eight credibility characteristics. With a majority correlation, it is further suggested that potential jurors overall perceptions of a particular group within society is likely to influence their decisions in regards to a witnesses credibility in providing evidence.