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Information for parents and guardians

My child has been questioned by police

On this page:

If questioned by the police, your child

  • May be given a warning under the Young Offenders Act 1997.

  • Does not have to answer any questions, make a statement or sign a document - except if they are driving a car, under 18 and drinking alcohol in a public place, suspected of being involved in or witnessing a serious crime, on public transport or involved in a car accident.

  • Does not have to go to a police station unless they are arrested.

  • May be searched, but not strip searched, if the police suspect they have drugs, stolen goods or a weapon.

  • For more information on your child's legal rights contact Legal Aid on 1800 10 18 10.

If the police arrest your child

  • They will take your child to the police station.

  • They will attempt to contact you before interviewing your child.

  • A parent or guardian should be present for questioning. If not, a parent or guardian can give permission for another person to attend. When your child is 14 or over, they may choose an adult to attend the interview, including a lawyer.

  • Your child does not have to make a statement or sign a document, even when you are there. If they do, it may be used as evidence in court.

  • The police should always let your child speak to a lawyer (on the Legal Aid hotline) before formally interviewing your child.

  • If your child admits to the offence after receiving legal advice the police may deal with your child by way of caution or referral to a youth justice conference. If this happens your child should be provided with written information on what happens next.

  • If police decide to send your child to court they will issue them with a court attendance notice (CAN), or they could charge your child.

If your child is charged

  • And is over 14 years of age, the police may take photographs and fingerprints which will be destroyed if the court dismisses the charge.

  • The police will then decide if they allow bail until the child appears at court.

If you or your child needs legal advice

  • Contact The Children's Legal Service Hotline (open seven days a week) on 1800 10 18 10.


(Last updated 13/05/2022)