Volunteers to help juveniles with statements to police

Singapore Children’s Society is set to run the Appropriate Adult for Young Suspects scheme for two years in Singapore. The purpose of Appropriate Adult Scheme is to provide assistance to young suspects under the age of 16 ( juveniles) who are under criminal investigation.

The Appropriate Adult may also intervene during the interview process to help rephrase questions so a child may understand what is being asked, or suggest a break when the child is showing signs of distress.

Appropriate Adult will provide help to young suspects under the age of 16.
Appropriate Adult will provide help to young suspects under the age of 16. Photo courtesy: youngparents.sg

The scheme was introduced in the wake of a review of police procedures, after a 14-year-old boy, Benjamin Lim, committed suicide after questioning for alleged molest.

The social service organisation Singapore Children’s Society was chosen after being evaluated on criteria such as volunteer management capability, expertise in service youth offenders and potential for long-term sustainability.

The Singapore Children's Society will be responsible for organising a team to run the scheme, and putting in place an activation scheme for the investigation officers to request an Appropriate Adult.

Singapore Children's Society’s director Ann Hui Peng said, “16 Children's Society staff are also volunteers under the scheme, and it is hoped they can help with more complex cases, or step in for activation at odd hours.

The scheme will be rolled out first at the police's Bedok Division, the Criminal Investigation Department and CNB's investigation division.