Enhancing the rights and well-being of people with acquired brain injuries in the criminal justice system: some findings from a qualitative study

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This article focuses on the issues currently facing people with an acquired brain injury (ABI) in the criminal justice system in the state of Victoria, Australia and, in particular, the impact of this condition on people suffering various forms of social disadvantage. This qualitative study involved in-depth interviews with key stakeholders, such as service providers working in the system, court personnel including Magistrates and Judges, legal practitioners and persons living with an ABI and their carers. The aim was to determine the advantages and limitations of current policy and practices, and to identify possible actions which could lead to improved outcomes for this cohort. This paper responds to our research findings in relation to two key areas: first, the awareness of ABI amongst legal practitioners and service providers, prompting the need for better education, training and professional development; and second, the requirement to improve processes for identification, assessment and support, for people involved in the criminal justice system with ABI. A number of systemic modifications and educational initiatives are recommended to address the unreasonable and unacceptable impacts on persons living with an ABI in the criminal justice system.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-106
Number of pages19
JournalAustralian Journal of Social Issues
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • Acquired brain injury
  • Criminal justice system
  • Disadvantaged populations
  • Mental health
  • Qualitative research

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