The Appropriate Adult Service in Ayrshire
We have delivered the Appropriate Adult Service across Ayrshire for over three and a half years and responded to over 1500 requests. Our average response time is under 40 minutes.
Our team are embedded within the justice system in Ayrshire, helping those who come into contact with the police as witnesses, suspects or accused persons and to all witnesses and accused persons requiring support at the two Sheriff Courts.
We are proud of the service we provide and strive for continuous improvement.
Here are two case studies indicating the diverse ways in which our team are utilised:
Case Study 1
We supported a female victim of historic serious sexual assault who had learning disability. An Appropriate Adult was present when she provided an initial statement to the police. This was a lengthy and complex statement which took several sessions to complete. We ensured that the same two Appropriate Adults the victim trusted helped with communication which was extremely difficult and stressful for her.
The Procurator Fiscal later met with the victim to inform her that no proceedings were to be taken. Our Appropriate Adult was requested to help the victim understand why this had occurred. Both the victim and the Procurator Fiscal felt that the use of the service had also been essential at this very stressful meeting.
Case Study 2
We supported a 19-year-old male with learning disability who appeared in court to be sentenced for assault. He was accompanied by his parents who found it extremely difficult to explain the court proceedings to their son as they did not fully understand the process. Their son’s inability to understand, particularly when he was under stress, made the situation worse.
This appearance was the family’s 5th time in court for the case and their first involvement with the justice system. An AA had not previously been requested for their son. The AA sat with the family while they were waiting and then with the son in court, explaining the process and why other cases had priority. Consequently, he remained calm on this appearance which had not been the case on previous occasions.
The family visited the Sheriff Clerk’s Office at the conclusion of the case, which had been further adjourned, insisting that an AA be provided in future. They conveyed that the use of our AA had made a significant difference to their son’s understanding of the court proceedings and had helped him remain calm.