The Rights of Children When Questioned or Arrested
Most of these rights are contained in the Law Enforcement (Powers and Responsibilities) Act 2002 (NSW).
- Children have the same rights as adults when questioned or arrested, however they have additional protections:
- parent/guardian must be notified if a child is taken into custody
- Have the right to an independent adult as a support person during any police procedure, such as an interview or search.
- Any statement taken from a person under 18 years of age is inadmissible in court unless there was an independent adult present.
- Police must tell a child about his/her rights and assist the child to exercise those rights
- Child under 10 may not be strip searched and a support person should be present for older children
- Children should not be kept in the same cell as an adult
- Police must not photograph or take fingerprints of children under 14 unless there is a court order
- Police may not take bodily samples without a court order
YOUNG OFFENDERS ACT 1997 (NSW)
- Aims to provide alternatives to court proceedings
- Allows police to issue warnings, cautions and arrange youth justice conferences
- Affirms the rights of victims and tries to empower them through involvement in the system.
- Aims to improve accessibility by reducing the time and cost involved in dealing with juvenile justice issues
- Reduces the number of children being kept in detention centres
Extract from Legal Studies Stage 6 Syllabus. © 2009 Board of Studies NSW.