Moira Healy MWC Forensic Learning Disabilities Seminar 23 November 2011 Role of the AppropriateAdult
Background • 1990 First AA service developed in Fife • 1998 Sc Exec instructed every Police Force to have an AA service • 2002 Sc Exec commissioned an evaluation of the service across Scotland • 2005 Evaluation published ( Dr Lindsay Thomson and Dr Raj Darjee) 76 recommendations. Scottish Appropriate Adult Network reformed • 2007 Guidance launched • 2008 MWC report : Justice Denied • 2009 National Standards developed • 2011 National standards evaluated
National Standards • Structure of AA services • Recruitment and selection • Support, supervision, development and retention • Training • Service delivery • AA in court • Monitoring and evaluation
Role of an Appropriate Adult • Appropriate Adults facilitate communication between the police and an adult ( person aged over 16) with a mental disorder during police procedures. • The term ‘mental disorder’ includes learning disability, metal illness, acquired brain injury or dementia.
Facilitating Communication • Provide support and reassurance • Help the person understand why they are being interviewed and the process they are about to undergo • Help the person understand the questions being asked • Assist the police to re phrase questions so they can be understood by the interviewee • Advise the police if they think an interview should be stopped • Be present when the person is undergoing forensic procedures eg finger printing, video ID parades, medical
AA’s must not… • Advise the interviewee whether or how to answer any questions • Object to any questions being asked • Lead the interviewee in any way • Withhold any information from the police divulged to him/her by the interviewee. This must be made clear to the interviewee at the outset
Who is the Appropriate Adult there for? • Victims, Witnesses, Suspect or Accused • If being questioned under caution, the AA must, as far as possible, check the person understands their right to remain silent at the beginning of the interview and throughout the process • Process for an AA includes a pre-interview, interview and post interview. Possibly pre cognition and supporting or appearing as a witness to the interview in court
Who are AA’s? • Must have a sound understanding of and experience in dealing with and communicating with people with a mental disorder ( National Guidance 2007) • In addition have had special training for this role • Must be independent of the police and the individual • Family member/support worker/ translator/solicitor may also be present ,each having a different role.
Why are AA’s needed for people with a learning disability? • May have difficulty understanding the caution • May be unable or have difficulties reading, telling the time or recalling events in sequence • May have memory problems • May have difficulty understanding technical words or jargon and struggle to identify these areas of difficulty • May make a false confession in order to end the interview
What is SAAN? • A collective governing network which has an oversight of all AA activity across Scotland. Representation from: • Scottish AA co-ordinators • Scottish Government • ACPOS • ADSW • Director of Judicial Studies • COPFS • MWC
Aims of SAAN • Develop National Standards and promote best practice, recruitment, training and the resource of services • To support member services in order to maximise their potential in meeting the needs of all AA service users • Collate Annual Reports from across all services throughout the country • June 2011 Evaluation of AA services funded by Scottish Government. 28 recommendations