Facility needed for foetal alcohol disorder, says magistrate

12 Aug 2014

Catherine Crawford

Facility needed for foetal alcohol disorder, says magistrate

This article first appeared in the Perth Eastern Reporter 5 August 2014 
Written by Anne Gartner 

PERTH Children’s Court Magistrate Catherine Crawford says there is an urgent need for a foetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) diagnostic clinic in Perth.

“I think in the children’s court there are a proportion of young people whom the court deal with that ought to be assessed for FASD,” she said.

“But at the moment there is no diagnostic facility, the youth justice officers, various people within the criminal justice and children protection systems are not trained to deal with FASD either to screen for it or know how to constructively engage with someone who is FASD affected.

“The implications if someone isn’t diagnosed but actually suffers one of those disorders mean it is likely that they have difficulties in the school system, operating in normal life within the community, which will escalate over time and they will likely become involved in the criminal justice process.”

Ms Crawford was recently awarded a ‍Churchill Fellowship to study how people with FASD are handled in other criminal jurisdictions. She said Canada was leading the way in ensuring people with FASD were diagnosed and directed to appropriate services, in particular a report framework had been developed which was able to highlight the weaknesses and strengths of individuals with FASD.

Read the full article Perth Eastern Reporter 5 August 2014


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