Children have all of the rights of adults upon arrest and some additional rights to reflect their vulnerable position. If a child is under 18 years or appears to have a mental illness or an intellectual disability, before asking any questions the police should do their best to ensure that a parent or guardian is present.
The arresting officer must, as soon as practicable after the arrest, explain the nature of the allegations and inform the child of their right to seek legal representation.
The parent or guardian should be called in as soon as possible after detention of the child. Where a child has been apprehended and does not nominate a solicitor, relative or friend to be present, or there is some practical problem in having anyone attend, it is up to the arresting officer to take all reasonable steps to try and ensure that a guardian (or other adult nominated by the youth) is notified of the arrest and invited to be present during any interrogation or investigation whilst the youth is in custody. In other words, the fact that the child has not nominated anybody does not mean that the police should leave the matter there [Young Offenders Act 1993 (SA) s 14], see Young offenders.
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