Police & Justice


* Important: FASD in NZ Justice Survey

Researchers from the University of Auckland are conducting a research to understand the knowledge, attitudes, and awareness of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) among New Zealand judges and lawyers. As a Judicial staff member, we invite you to take part in a short survey about FASD.

The responses collected from the survey will remain anonymous and will be used to inform guidelines and National policy for addressing FASD, particularly in the Justice setting. You will not be asked to comment on your employer directly, and they will not have access to survey data.

If you are interested in taking part, please click on the link below to access the Participant Information Sheet and the survey. It will take approximately 10 minutes to complete.  If you have any questions about the research, please email [email protected]

Thank you for your participation. Click here to go to the survey.

Scroll down for more information on FASD in the NZ justice system.



According to a 2019 study in Canada, over 30% of individuals in the penal system presented with FASD, and the Banksia Hill Detention Centre study in Australia put the figure even higher at 36% (with only 2% previously diagnosed). The figure here in Aotearoa New Zealand will be as high as that, if not higher.

As a frontline justice worker, when you come into contact with individuals who have, or are suspected to have FASD, it's essential to think about how you are communicating – the person may present as neurotypical and in fact often may have very high levels of expressive language – but there are many things you may be doing or saying that simply do not make sense to an individual with FASD.

FASD behaviour resulting from communication breakdowns could be construed as wilful and further unhelpful punitive justice may be applied. There is an excellent article in Stuff (June 8, 2022) which discusses how an individual with FASD may present in a misleading way – click here for a 5-minute read.

A three-minute video from The Asante Centre in Canada also illustrates the communication gap well. Click on the image below to watch.