Mental Health And Justice

About The Policare Initiative

Arthur’s Dream Autism Trust (ADAT Foundation) works with parents of and children and adults with various disabilities across Kenya. Our key focus areas are Inclusive education and Justice. We empower parents to advocate for themselves and their children with disabilities via Parent support networks across Kenya. With assistance, parents of/ and persons with disabilities are able to dismantle stigma and barriers that keep them away from accession their human rights and living their full lives included in

Our quest and support for the POLICARE initiative is informed by the daily experiences of parents and persons with disabilities who form the ADAT Foundation network. Many of these Parents and PWDs have experienced Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), delayed justice and have had undignified experiences in pursuit of justice. With the advent of POLICARE we see a very positive approach towards the reception of
persons with disabilities at Police Stations across the nation. With POLICARE we can look forward to quicker justice for Parents and PWDs across Kenya.

Access To Justice For Persons With Intellectual Disabilities

Kenya has signed the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CPRD) and its Optional Protocol and by virtue of Article 2 (6) of the Constitution of Kenya 2010, the convention is part of the laws of Kenya. Persons with intellectual disabilities have a right to access justice as enshrined in Article 48 of the constitution as well as Article 13
of the CRPD.

The following rights that are mostly violated

  1. Rights of an arrested person -Article 49 of the Constitution 2010.
    • Persons with intellectual disabilities as victims of any criminal offence lack support to report cases at the police station.
    • While as suspects the police doesn’t take time to inform them of the charges in a language they understand. Suspects are also held in cells without reasonable accommodation endangering their lives. The police should release the person on free bond pending the hearing of the case in court.
    • There is no reasonable accommodation at the police station when PWDs need to record their statements which are crucial to form part of the evidence.
    • There is a need for support at this crucial reporting stage tailor-made to individual needs.
  1. Article 50- Right to a fair trial.
    • Suspects with intellectual disabilities are subjected to mental assessment before taking a plea. In most cases, the medical report will declare a person unfit to stand trial without stating the support needs that can be given to the suspect to attend his own trial.
    • Article 50 (7) states that in the interest of the justice court to appoint an intermediary that will enable the court to communicate with the accused person.
    • A person with an intellectual disability should have this right accorded to him to have the necessary support to go through the trial.
  2. Article 27 of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and Article 5 and of the CRPD
  • Equality before the law and non-discrimination.
  • Article 5 of the CPRD directs Kenya as a state party to the convention to
    ensure that no persons with disability shall be discriminated on that basis and accord legal protection to persons with disabilities against discrimination on all grounds.
  • The police, court and ODPP should not discriminate on the basis of
    disabilities and ensure that victims and suspects with intellectual disabilities can access justice with reasonable accommodations made to suit individual needs.
    the child
  1. Article 12 of the CRPD- Legal Capacity.
    • Kenya is obligated to recognize persons with disabilities are persons before the law, to enjoy legal capacity on an equal basis with others. This equality is enshrined in Article 27 of the Constitution where every person is equal before the law.
    • The right to legal capacity should be accorded right from the reporting stage to taking witness statements to take a plea in court and extend to having intermediates for both accused and victims with intellectual disabilities throughout the trial process with reasonable accommodations.

5. Article 53 (2) of the Constitution 2010 and Article 7 of the CRPD- Best interest of Children with intellectual disabilities should be protected from neglect, abuse, violence and inhumane treatment.

  • Children with intellectual disabilities have been categorized as children need of care and protection under the Children Act. When they are found to be ‘lost’ or wandering in the streets they are taken in and as children in need of care and protection whereas the parent may be charged with child neglect.
  • These children are then put into remand homes where they may grow and get into adulthood and later transferred to adult prisons.