Close menu


Sunderland Repository records the research produced by the University of Sunderland including practice-based research and theses.

Testimonial Injustice: Exploring ‘credibility’ as a barrier to justice for people with learning disabilities/autism who report sexual violence

Williams, Helen and Jobe, Alison (2024) Testimonial Injustice: Exploring ‘credibility’ as a barrier to justice for people with learning disabilities/autism who report sexual violence. Disability & Society. ISSN 0968-7599 (In Press)

Item Type: Article


Rape/sexual assault cases have high levels of attrition, with reports of sexual violence from people with learning disabilities/autism disproportionately represented. This paper presents the results of a small qualitative study in the UK which focuses on how the criminal justice system is experienced by people with learning disabilities/autism who report sexual offences. An adversarial criminal justice system is reliant on normative social constructions of credibility and the embodiment of (ideal) victimhood through testimony. Adopting Fricker’s framework of testimonial injustice (2009) we explore how epistemic assumptions around credibility create a barrier to justice and facilitate case attrition for victim/survivors with learning disabilities/autism. The paper highlights how criminal justice interpretations of behaviour, communication and third-party disclosure limit access to justice for individuals with learning disabilities/autism, rendering the criminal justice process inherently discriminatory to those with atypical frames of reference.

[img] PDF
Testimonial Injustice with author details.pdf - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until 31 December 2026.
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (295kB) | Request a copy

More Information

Additional Information: “This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Disability & Society on [date of publication], available at:[Article DOI].” (currently in press)
Depositing User: Helen Williams


Item ID: 17381
ISSN: 0968-7599
Official URL:

Users with ORCIDS

ORCID for Helen Williams: ORCID iD

Catalogue record

Date Deposited: 01 Mar 2024 11:05
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2024 11:06


Author: Helen Williams ORCID iD
Author: Alison Jobe

University Divisions

Faculty of Education and Society > School of Social Sciences


Social Sciences > Criminology
Social Sciences

Actions (login required)

View Item (Repository Staff Only) View Item (Repository Staff Only)