The Appropriate Adult scheme hopes to recruit up to 15 people to support vulnerable children and adults through the police and court process.
The scheme was created to support people aged between 10 and 17 years and vulnerable adults including those with mental health issues and learning difficulties.
Volunteers assist those who have been arrested and do not have a parent, guardian or support worker to safeguard the person and their rights.
The role of an ‘Appropriate Adult’ is to accompany a vulnerable person during police interviews, identification processes or court hearings.
This includes ensuring the person understands what is happening and why, that the correct procedures are followed and to assist when dealing with police officers and advocates.
Volunteers need to be available at different times including during normal working hours, evenings and weekends.
Minister for Health and Social Care Lawrie Hooper MHK said: ‘Unfortunately there are young people and vulnerable adults in our community who do not have a parent or guardian they can call on if they are arrested.
‘We have a responsibility to ensure that those people have access to an equal level of support, that someone has their best interests in mind when guiding them through the custodial process.
‘The support provided by the trained volunteers is extremely beneficial both to the vulnerable person and to the police and courts. We would encourage anyone interested in volunteering to get in touch and find out how they can help.’
‘Appropriate Adults’ must be over 18, have access to a mobile phone and understand the importance of confidentiality. Full training will be provided.
Anyone interested in volunteering should contact the Department with an informal email or covering letter explaining why they wish to become an Appropriate Adult to [email protected]. Alternatively, enquiries can be posted to Scott Wilson, Department of Health and Social Care, First Floor, Belgravia House, Circular Road, Douglas IM1 1AE.
For more information about the voluntary position call the department on 685816, or visit the Appropriate Adult scheme page on the government’s website.