FASD and the Justice System
This site is designed for justice system professionals and others who want to understand more about FASD. It provides information and resources about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), including background information, case law, legal resources and strategies for effective intervention.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is an umbrella term for the leading causes of mental and developmental disabilities in the Western world. A person with FASD always has permanent brain damage, though obvious physical effects are usually absent. The result is that FASD is often invisible to the untrained eye.
FASD presents many difficult challenges across the judicial system, from arrest through to correctional processes. The objective of the website is to provide information to help ensure that justice system professionals will be better informed in their contact with persons with FASD who enter the justice system as accused, victims or witnesses, and better equipped to respond appropriately to the challenges.
FASD and the Justice System was developed by The FASD ONE Justice Committee of FASD ONE (FASD Ontario Network of Expertise) with funding from the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Department of Justice Canada, Youth Justice Policy.
The information in this website is referenced and, when possible, linked to on-line sources.
- FASD Basics: Definitions, characteristics, incidence and cost
- FASD and Behaviour: Primary and secondary disabilities and diagnostic process
- Recognizing FASD in the Justice System: Typical scenarios, screening tools and strategies
- Investigation, Pre-trial and Bail: Ways to protect rights of a person with FASD
- Trial: Evidentiary challenges, how to get relevant info, defences
- Sentencing: Weighing responsibility of accused with FASD, diversion and alternatives
- What Works: Reframing behavior, adapting environment, setting up external brain
- Aboriginal People and FASD: Incidence and prevalence, cultural traits, biological susceptibility and other factors
- Cases: Documented cases involving FASD in the Canadian justice systems
- More Information: Annotated FASD bibliography and additional resources
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