Information for family members

Acting as an appropriate adult

Acting as an AA during coronavirus

Finding a trained appropriate adult

Acting as an appropriate adult

Family members and friends are often asked to act as an appropriate adult. However, the guidance they are given is not always detailed enough to enable them to act effectively. The information provided below is intended to help parents, carers and other untrained AAs to help a person as effectively as possible. 

Our most detailed guide

Being an appropriate adult: an independent guide (2021)

This recently updated guide combines a one page summary with 10 pages of detailed information.

Our most simple guide

A quick guide to being an appropriate adult  (2018)

This pocket-sized guide can be printed double-sided onto a single piece of A4 paper, then folded into thirds.

Official government guide

Guidance for appropriate adults (2003) 

This guide is published by the Home Office. Although it is now 18 years old, most of the information is still accurate. 

Other helpful pages on this website

Acting as an AA during coronavirus (Covid-19)

Your safety

If you have any queries about the impact of corononavirus on health and safety, please ask the police custody suite that has asked you to attend. Police are expected to provide you with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE).   

Legal advice

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, an emergency protocol was put in place. This meant lawyers often provided legal assistance in interviews via video conferencing or telephone. 

In February 2021, we co-published the Not remotely fair? report. It showed how remote legal representation negatively impacted on children and vulnerable people, and also made the appropriate adult role much more complicated. 

As of 17th May 2021, anyone who has an appropriate adult must have their legal advice in-person. See our video below. 

If you are acting as an AA, there should be no suggestion of remote legal representation. If it is suggested, you should:

  • Tell the police that remote legal advice is not allowed for a child or vulnerable person
  • Make sure they are aware of version 3 of the Joint Interim Interview Protocol


Finding a trained appropriate adult

Family members are not always in a position to act as a person's appropriate adult. This might be because they are unavailable, unsuitable (for example if they may be a witness) or they simply don't feel they are the right person to take on the role. 

Within the NAAN membership, there are many local organised schemes which can provide a trained appropriate adult. Referrals to these services are made by the police. You do not need to arrange an AA yourself. Iffor some reason the police are not sure where to get an AA, you can suggest they read our guide to finding an appropriate adult

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