This thesis reports on the first empirical study of the volunteer appropriate adult service for young suspects and the first attempt to determine the extent and nature of volunteer appropriate adult provision nationally. The investigation provides an original insight into the philosophy, role, practice and co-ordination of the appropriate adult. At an empirical level, the investigation fills a gap in the current work on the appropriate adult by considering the use of volunteers in the role, in terms of their practice and co-ordination and the extent and nature of their use. The empirical research is based on a detailed case study of the Plymouth Youth Enquiry Service (henceforth YES) volunteer appropriate adult service and a national survey of YOT managers. The case study included participant observation, documentary analysis and a self-administered questionnaire survey at the YES volunteer appropriate adult service. The national study of YOT managers was based on a postal survey. At a theoretical level, this thesis uses theoretical perspectives from the fields of youth justice (for example, Brown, 1998; Muncie, 1999a) and criminal process (for example, Packer, 1968; McBarnet, 1981; Choongh, 1997) to explain the philosophy, role and practice of the appropriate adult. It argues that role has been constructed to serve different, and sometimes conflicting, purposes, ranging from due process, crime control, welfare, crime prevention and managerialism. In terms of practice, parents rarely contribute in interviews and, when they do, their contributions tend to be consistent with the crime control model. Social workers may act according to a welfare or control ideology. The volunteer's role has included elements of due process, crime prevention and welfare.

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