An event focusing on Autism and the criminal justice system took place in Wiltshire recently which looked at supporting prevention, early intervention and partnership working. The first Think Autism event in the county was held by the Wiltshire Autism Partnership, which is made up of representatives of Wiltshire Council, Wiltshire and Swindon Users Network, health professionals, adults on the autistic spectrum, and parents and carers. Jerry Wickham, Wiltshire Council cabinet member for public health and adult social care, said: “This was a very productive event and it was great to see so many different organisations represented to discuss and delve deep into this important issue. “The key thing I took away from it is that there’s a collective commitment to ensure that autistic people in Wiltshire don’t feel isolated no matter what situation they find themselves in and they get the right support and understanding they are entitled to.” Think Autism 2015, the government’s national autism strategy, identifies 15 key priority challenges for action. Two of these were the focus of the event: – I want to be safe in my community and free from the risk of discrimination, hate crime and abuse – If I break the law, I want the criminal justice system to think about autism and to know how to work well with other services Therefore, the event was held to raise awareness of autism among people who work in the criminal justice system so they are more informed and more able to support people with the condition and their parents and carers. Around 100 people attended the event, and among the organisations represented were the National Autistic Society, Wiltshire Police, Probation Service and the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership. Following this event the autism alert card will be better promoted, and on the day attendees were encouraged to sign pledge postcards about how they can improve autism awareness training for staff or by making communities more aware. Due to autism awareness training within the Probation Service and the police service, people who find themselves in the criminal justice system who may have undiagnosed autism are now more easily identified, and referred for diagnosis, so they can be supported in a way appropriate to their needs. Autism is a serious lifelong condition affecting social behaviour and communication. Over half a million people in the UK have autism – that’s one in 100, similar to the number of people who have dementia.