New factsheets have been published that contain guidance that aims to help frontline professionals working in the criminal justice system to support people with learning disabilities more effectively.
The free resources have been produced by the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, after it undertook a scoping exercise with frontline staff in the criminal justice system to find out what kinds of difficulties they face when supporting clients with learning disabilities.
During the consultation, it became clear that busy practitioners need information in a succinct format rather than be referred to lengthy reports. The Foundation has responded by producing two-page factsheets, which it is hoped will reach a wide readership among frontline staff.
The factsheets include information on:
• How to spot signs that a person has a learning disability
• Finding out about other services that may help
• Making information easier
• Making appointments
• Making decisions
• Useful information and resources.
Jill Davies, research programme manager for the Foundation for People with Learning Disabilities, said: “We know that people with learning disabilities are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system, and we need to ensure that frontline staff are aware of their vulnerability. From our interviews with a range of practitioners there is a feeling that some offenders struggle to understand or engage because of difficulties with communication, organisational, literacy, memory and problem-solving skills. This can lead to missed appointments and non-participation in treatment programmes which could vastly reduce their risk of engaging in criminal behaviour.
“Practitioners told us they would value practical information on how to support people with learning disabilities by making sure they turn up for appointments; making information easier to read or understand; knowing what other professionals or services are available to support the person; and having a better understanding if a person has a learning disability or not. We are confident that these factsheets will become an important resource for frontline staff in the criminal justice system.”
The factsheets can be downloaded here