Autistic people can be vulnerable to crime and can sometimes become offenders themselves. It’s important for the police to know that a person is autistic, so that they can provide the support they need.
Autism alert/identity cards
It can be helpful for the autistic person you support to carry an autism alert/ identity card. This is a plastic card that lets people know that someone is autistic and may need additional support. Different autism alert and identity cards are issued by local police forces and other organisations.
Alerting police officers
Teach your child that if they ever come in contact with police, they should disclose that they are autistic, as they should then be offered additional help.
Sometimes, autistic people can commit criminal offences due to issues such as social naivety, difficulties with social interaction or not understanding the impact of their actions. As a parent or carer, it’s important to teach the autistic person you support about appropriate social behaviour. Some people find using social stories helpful to talk about these issues.
Sadly, sometimes autistic people are exploited by people who are pretending to be their friends, in what is also called ‘mate crime’. Talk to the autistic person you support about keeping safe and not lending money to people they don’t know or allowing others to be aggressive toward them or treat them badly.
Victims and witnesses of crime
If the autistic person you support ever becomes a witness or victim of crime, they should receive additional support in police interviews and if they are attending court. These could include reasonable adjustments such as the use of screens, communication aids or using video recordings of evidence.
Read more about autism and criminal justice by clicking on the links below.