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Reflections on systemic barriers for ethnic minorities in accessing community-based forensic services for people with intellectual disabilities and autism
Journal of Intellectual Disabilities and Offending Behaviour  (IF),  Pub Date : 2021-11-16, DOI: 10.1108/jidob-08-2021-0012
Mercedez Coleman


Community-based forensic support services (CBFSSs) were commissioned nationally by National Health Service (NHS) England in 2017 in response to “Building the Right Support” (NHS England, 2015). CBFSSs provide multidisciplinary support to adults with intellectual disabilities and/or autism who are in (or at risk of) contact with the criminal justice system and those transitioning from inpatient secure care. This paper aims to highlight potential systemic barriers to accessing community forensic services for people from an ethnic minority background. in one CBFSSs in Northern England.


This paper provides preliminary reflections on potential systemic barriers within the criminal justice system and health-care services that have implications for service users from ethnic minority backgrounds accessing CBFSSs.


There is a paucity of data, policy and literature that focuses on people with intellectual disabilities and autism with forensic needs from ethnic minority backgrounds. This lack of data obstructs further reforms to meet the needs of this population.


CBFSSs are commissioned across England. While some regional variation is to be expected, services should be aware of the systemic barriers people from ethnic minority backgrounds within their region face. These barriers should be considered and addressed when evaluating service efficacy and delivery. Recommendations are made to review and address issues of under-representation of ethnic minorities within CBFSSs.