Child-Friendly Justice in Action
Children can be involved in judicial proceedings, either directly, as a defendant, victim, witness or indirectly when decisions have a considerable impact on their lives. However, judicial systems in Europe are not always adapted to the specific needs of children and their vulnerability.
All European Union Member States have an obligation to ensure that children’s best interests are being considered when they are involved in criminal and civil judicial proceedings. Without properly trained professional or suitable settings, children are at risk of being traumatized if procedures are not child friendly.
The Council of Europe and the European Union have in the recent years developed an innovative approach in adopting various standards, guidelines and directives in the field of child-friendly justice. However these standards, that are still quite recent, are not enough disseminated and known by professionals working directly or indirectly with children in contact with the justice system.
The objectives of the project“ Child-Friendly Justice in Action !” are to :
• Make sure that the voice of children is heard in litigation; guarantee the participation of children in all proceedings involving them
• Advocate for an adaptation of the judicial systems in line with children’s rights
• Make sure that the best interest of the child is taken in consideration also when the child is not directly concerned
• Strengthening capacities of professionals working directly or indirectly with children in contact with the judicial system.
Main activities are:
• Mapping of good practices and existing tools in terms of child-friendly justice;
• Need analysis of professionals working directly or indirectly with children in contact with the justice system;
• Participative workshops with children concerning their needs/expectation/experience of the judicial system for children in each country (child participation);
• Writing of a toolkit on child-friendly justice including the mapping of good practices and existing tools in child-friendly justice; recommendations based on the need analysis of professionals; and recommendations based on the results of the participative workshops with children.
• The methodology used is based on a bottom-up approach which will enable us to extract not only the professionals’ needs working in the field but also the children’s needs in contact with justice.
• The target audience are the youth workers in contact with young people in touch with the justice system and young people who were or are still in contact with justice.
• The project results will be widely disseminated in each country to youth workers, who will be better informed about the principles of child-friendly justice and will thus be better able to take them into account in their daily practices with young people. The project will have a great impact on the justice system by contributing to make it more child-friendly.
DCI-Belgium (coordinator), DCI-World Service, DCI-Greece, DCI-Spain, DCI-Italy, DCI-France, DCI-Czech Republic, DCI-Netherlands
European Paper Position (DEI Belgique, DCI Greece, DCI Italia)