Appropriate Adults are volunteers who provide independent and impartial support to young people and vulnerable adults when in detention and during Law Enforcement interviews. An Appropriate Adult may also be asked to support a vulnerable person during court proceedings.
The detainee could be under 18 or someone who, because of their mental state or capacity, may not understand the significance of what is said, or the questions asked, or who may need assistance to ensure their response is understood.
This might include people with learning difficulties, disabilities or people presenting with mental health problems.
The role of an Appropriate Adult is to:
- support, advise and assist the detained person, particularly during questioning
- observe whether Law Enforcement officers are acting properly, fairly and with respect for the rights of the detained person and to tell these authorities if they are not
- assist with communication between the detained person and Law Enforcement
- ensure the detained person has a full understanding of their rights
Applications to become an Appropriate Adult can be made at any time.
You will need to attend an introductory session, fill a form, undertake a Basic Disclosure check and take part in training.
If you are suitable for the role you will be added to the callout list and contacted when needed.
You’ll need tact, sensitivity and the ability to communicate with a wide range of individuals.
The role would suit those driven by a sense of justice, fairness and human rights.
A background in social work, nursing, or working with vulnerable adults or children would be helpful but is not a requirement.
Knowledge of the criminal justice system is desirable but not essential.
You will be invited to a one-day information and training day and training materials are available online.
This is a ‘learn on the job’ role because it’s not possible to shadow experienced volunteers. But you can contact other Appropriate Adults and also the Scheme Manager for advice and support.
You will be part of a pool of volunteers who can be contacted when a young person or vulnerable adult needs support during their detention in custody, including for interview or other procedures. You may also be asked to support a person through a court process.
It’s really up to you how many callouts you attend and whether you opt in to be on the court rota. Your personal time commitment will vary depending on whether you are available when an Appropriate Adult is needed.
On average, a volunteer will attend a call-out twice a month. This might mean spending several hours at the police station at short notice, it really depends on the circumstances of the case and your availability.
If you agree to support someone through court processes, that could take a morning, a day, or several days for a serious matter or for a trial.
There is no salary, it is a voluntary role to assist your community.
Reasonable expenses will be reimbursed.
You will ensure the most vulnerable members of our community are treated with respect and understand what is happening to them.
You will be working as part of a team to safeguard the criminal justice process.
There’s a lot of waiting around.
The custody suite and interview rooms are not the most comfortable environment.
Go to www.gov.gg/appropriateadults.
To register your interest or apply, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Being an Appropriate Adult (note: this video is about the Leeds scheme but Guernsey’s is similar).
There are more videos from the National Appropriate Adult Network here: appropriateadult.org.uk/information
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