The law and practice referred to in this article or webinar has been paraphrased or summarised. It might not be up-to-date with changes in the law and we do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided at the time of reading. It should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice in relation to a specific set of circumstances.
For any parent or close family member, the thought of their child, sibling or relative being labelled a criminal is terrifying. As parents we have all experienced in children and young persons the intrigue, awkwardness and confusion that is such a part of growing up, but if your child is accused of a harmful behaviour what should you do? It might be violence, drugs or inappropriate sexual behaviour, there are many things we can do to help and we offer a Family Support Package which will ensure that you get the right support at the right time. In a world where criminal allegations are taken ever more seriously, taking control of the process and protecting your child from a future label is essential. Whether an allegation has come from another parent, the police, social services, or online, we can work with you and your child to make it right.
Getting advice from someone who has experience of what you’re going through will definitely help. We are independent. We are non-judgmental, but we are also realistic and robust. Decades of experience has shown us to say it as it is. If the police are involved you definitely need a lawyer. If the allegation has not gone that far then you will have to decide where to find the help for you and your child. It might be from friends, other family or a wider support network, perhaps at school, college or through a trusted social worker. If either you want expert professional advice, or if you can’t turn elsewhere right now, we are the right people to call.
You definitely need legal advice and support and you should seek it as soon as possible. It is usually possible to make arrangements that are mutually convenient to all, including an appropriate adult. It is almost always possible to get details of the evidence of an allegation before the interview and it will be important to support your child or relative if they have to give their version of events. Sometimes we will draft a written statement of what happened to make sure this account can be communicated clearly.
Any person being interviewed at a police station as a suspect will be entitled to legal aid if they want it. Many children will qualify for legal aid at court if they have to go. Other over 18’s must pass a means and merits test. However, we do not do any work on a legal aid basis. We are not the police solicitor or the duty solicitor. We offer a specialist, privately funded service. If you want a free lawyer for a police interview you should ask the police to arrange one or find a supplier who does this work on legal aid. You can contact the Legal Aid Agency for a list of all the suppliers in your area. As a parent or family member, there is almost certainly no legal aid for you in getting advice about how best to navigate the process and offer support.
We will agree this when we arrange it, but generally whoever you want to come can come. It may be just you, it may be both parents and/or another carer or relative, and sometimes it is even more. There’s no limit - it’s about getting the right advice to the right people. Whether your child or relative comes with you will always need to be considered. In some cases that is appropriate, in some cases it is not, and we will discuss this with you beforehand. Sometimes we meet a parent first and a child or relative later, sometimes both come and we invite the parent to step out of the meeting at some point so we can speak to the child alone. We are focussed on whatever works, on getting the best outcome for your family. This is true for parents and children under 18, but it is also true for older children and relatives, particularly if there is a neurodivergent presentation or mental health issue in play, and you are seeking to understand the ground yourself before setting out the plan with the family. Talk to us – we’ll make it work for you.
Most cases we handle involves a young person having made some error of judgment or immature decision, and our work involves making sure that the consequences and the support are right going forward. If your child or relative has displayed troubling harmful behaviour and we wish to consider seeking external help for them going forward to support them into healthy relationships, respectful peer groups or trusted family units then we have a specialised Treatment Pathway. We will explore this further with you as part of an overall strategy. Help is available.
We are instructed by parents and families who understand an allegation has been made about their child or relative, but where there has not yet been a formal complaint to the police or other organisation. This might come from other parents, on social media, from a lawyer or social worker. The question is how to respond to such an allegation, and what, if anything, to do about it. We all know that it is possible for allegations to be formalised months, years or decades after the event, so how can we protect your child and your family? Doing nothing rarely feels right. Gathering evidence, retaining accounts, being proactive and taking protective steps may all be on the agenda.
What our clients say
"This firm is ahead of the market in terms of its client care and its attention to detail. They offer a blend of essential qualities that are required in dealing with stressful and delicate matters."
Legal 500, 2020