Disability in criminal justice

Provisions of support for people with disability in early interactions with criminal justice: Benefits, challenges, and opportunities for change

Degree type


Closing date

10 October 2022



Citizenship requirement


About the research project

Interactions with the criminal justice system are often stressful, and this stress can be compounded when a person has a disability that may affect their capacity to self-advocate for their rights and to be aware of the potential consequences of such interactions.  For example, the caution about detainee rights given by police is complex in meaning and often delivered at rapid pace in difficult circumstances.  A person with a disability that affects comprehension may agree to be questioned under caution without fully understanding the consequences, resulting in an erosion of their rights.  Given the over-representation of people with disability in correctional facilities (which is over 80%), investigation into how people can be better supported in interactions with police and the wider criminal justice system is warranted.

This project will explore the experiences of people with an intellectual or cognitive disability at various stages of the policing process, and assess the suitability of that process to uphold the rights of people with disability to make informed decisions.  The project will aim to develop and test possible alternatives to complex policing processes (such as the police caution), and consider what, if any, additional support is required to raise rights awareness, including the right to self-advocacy.

This project may have a part-time study option available. Some restrictions may apply. Please discuss your preference with the Supervisor and note your preferred study option when applying.

Primary Supervisor

Meet Prof Nicole L. Asquith


Applicants will be considered for a Research Training Program (RTP) scholarship or Tasmania Graduate Research Scholarship (TGRS) which, if successful, provides:

  • a living allowance stipend of $28,854 per annum (2022 rate, indexed annually) for 3.5 years
  • a relocation allowance of up to $2,000
  • a tuition fees offset covering the cost of tuition fees for up to four years (domestic applicants only)

If successful, international applicants will receive a University of Tasmania Fees Offset for up to four years.

As part of the application process you may indicate if you do not wish to be considered for scholarship funding.


Applicants should review the Higher Degree by Research minimum entry requirements.

Additional eligibility criteria specific to this project/scholarship:

  • Applicants must be able to undertake the project on-campus.

Selection Criteria

The project is competitively assessed and awarded.  Selection is based on academic merit and suitability to the project as determined by the College.

Additional essential selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Knowledge of intellectual disability, and capacity to work with people with intellectual disability

Additional desirable selection criteria specific to this project:

  • Understanding of work across government sectors (justice/policing and health)

Application process

There is a three-step application process:

  1. Select your project, and check you meet the eligibility and selection criteria;
  2. Contact the Primary Supervisor, Prof Nicole L. Asquith to discuss your suitability and the project's requirements; and
  3. Submit an application by the closing date listed above.
    • Copy and paste the title of the project from this advertisement into your application. If you don’t correctly do this your application may be rejected.
    • As part of your application, you will be required to submit a covering letter, a CV including 2 x referees and your project research proposal.

Following the application closing date applications will be assessed within the College. Applicants should expect to receive notification of the outcome by email by the advertised outcome date.

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