“I think they do not know how to lie:” The perceptions of legal support staff about person with intellectual disabilities/autism in Turkish legal system

Kaya A., YILDIZ G.

Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities, vol.36, no.3, pp.516-528, 2023 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 36 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2023
  • Doi Number: 10.1111/jar.13074
  • Journal Name: Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Periodicals Index Online, CINAHL, EBSCO Education Source, Educational research abstracts (ERA), EMBASE, ERIC (Education Resources Information Center), MEDLINE, Psycinfo, Public Affairs Index
  • Page Numbers: pp.516-528
  • Keywords: autism, forensic interview, intellectual disabilities, judicial process, legal support staff
  • Anadolu University Affiliated: Yes


Background: Increased social integration of individuals with intellectual disabilities or autism could may raise their likelihood of interacting with justice system and legal staff. Aims: The present article aimed to determine the perceptions of the legal support staff about the individuals with intellectual disabilities or autism. Materials and Methods: In the study, conducted with the phenomenological method, the views of 15 legal support staff were obtained. The study reported what participants perceived and examined whether participants had an accurate understanding of the experiences/support needs of people with intellectual disabilities/autism. The data were analysed with content analysis. Results: Three themes were determined: (1) Experience of interview with an individual with intellectual disabilities/autism, (2) attitudes of judges, lawyers and other staff, and (3) abuse/trauma. Discussion: Findings are consistent with literature. Individuals with intellectual disabilities/autism have problems in expressing themselves, also staff do not know them, do not know their features. Studies show that staff often do not know what to do in these interviews. Conclusion: Based on the participant perspectives, it was determined that individuals with intellectual disabilities/autism experienced self-expression problems, interviewees did not understand children/individuals with intellectual disabilities or autism and could exhibit negative attitudes, the children could be abused and traumatised during judicial processes, they were more prone to abuse when compared to their peers, they could be involved in certain events more frequently and could be pushed to crime.