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A focus group study of police officers' recognition of individuals with intellectual disability


Douglas, L and Cuskelly, M, A focus group study of police officers' recognition of individuals with intellectual disability, Psychiatry Psychology and Law, 19, (1) pp. 35-44. ISSN 1321-8719 (2012) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2012 The Australian and New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law

DOI: doi:10.1080/13218719.2010.543403


Many societies require that individuals with an intellectual disability are provided with some protections when interacting with their justice systems. Police officers are often the first members of the justice system to make contact with offenders, victims, and witnesses, so their capacity to recognize that an individual requires additional supports is of paramount importance. This study used focus group methodology to determine how police in Queensland, Australia, recognized an individual as having an intellectual disability. Appearance was the most commonly nominated characteristic, followed by language difficulties, problems with comprehension, inappropriate behaviour for age, and problem behaviour. Invariable use of an appropriate screening tool is recommended as the only reliable method of ensuring that police officers identify individuals with an intellectual disability.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:attitudes, intellectual disability, learning disability, police, recognition
Research Division:Psychology
Research Group:Social and personality psychology
Research Field:Social psychology
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Disability and functional capacity
UTAS Author:Cuskelly, M (Professor Monica Cuskelly)
ID Code:120388
Year Published:2012
Web of Science® Times Cited:14
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2017-08-23
Last Modified:2017-11-07

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