A Deserving Outcome for our AA
Our Appropriate Adult (AA) volunteers support juveniles and vulnerable adults whilst in custody. They may be involved throughout the entire process, or they may only be involved in part of it. Very rarely do they learn of the outcome of a detainee – confidentiality means that they’re often left wondering how that person got on. Here’s a great story from one of our AAs who learned about the fate of the detainee she supported:
Last October our AA was called out to attend the Police Investigation Centre at 6.30pm one evening, to support a male in his late teens who had been accused of a serious offence. She supported him through processing (fingerprints, photographs etc), interview and all forms of searches. She spent a lot of time chatting to him, to keep him out of the cell as much as possible.
The detainee revealed distressing facts about his life – saying he felt everyone he cared for had gone, or was soon to leave him. Basically most of his family members had died years before and two remaining elderly relatives were very ill. He even mentioned that his dog was elderly and very ill. The dog lived with his poorly grandfather; the detainee lived in a tent with his partner – he was scared and cold, but had managed to secure a low paid job. He said he was scared every time he had to leave the tent as he didn’t know if it would be trashed when he returned. He described himself as an easy target for others who mistreated him and said “This should not be the life of a 19 year old” several times to her. He also kept saying how his grandmother had always told him to be clean and presentable, so he felt he was letting her down. He felt as if he had no support
Our AA said he came across as intelligent and sensitive and she offered him a tissue at one point and he said that was the kindest thing anyone had done for him for some time. He constantly thanked her and when 10 pm came (the end of her shift), he said he would understand if she wanted to leave. She said she would stay as long as she could, to be with him through all stages. In the end she stayed until past midnight when everything had been covered. Our AA also commented on how the Custody Sergeant was amazing: very kind and as concerned as she was.
Around Christmas time, on another shift, our AA spoke to the same Custody Sergeant on another visit and asked if he remembered the young man. He did and was delighted to tell her that he had just discovered that the firm the young man was working at had recognised his and his partner’s plight and the management had arranged a collection for them. They raised enough to help set them up in their own small, rented flat giving them a warm safe place to live in. Our volunteer was delighted. In her own words:
“As AAs we do not know what happens further down the line for detained persons. I do not know what happened in this young man’s case ( he may well have been targeted for all I know, or prosecuted). But I do know he was someone who had had no life at all and had much of his life still to live. I hope the support he received from the people at his place of work helps him to see that some of us do care and this could make a difference to his journey.”
Thank you so much to our volunteer AA for sharing this heart-warming story with us, and thank you to all the AAs who are so often left wondering what happened next.