On 15 April, the Child Rights Centre (CRC) held a press conference entitled Justice from the Perspective of Children and Youth, which gathered 80 attendees, including judges, prosecutors, lawyers, representatives of media outlets, social welfare centres, police, Judicial Academy, schools, civil sector, international organisations, academia and donor community, as well as children and youth from the DX Club. Due to a great interest, the conference was attended in person in the Media Centre and on the Zoom platform.
The CRC presented the key findings of the research Child-friendly Justice from the Perspective of Children and Youth, which clearly show that the child’s right to information is not sufficiently exercised: neither in relation to information about the rights in proceedings nor in relation to information about the reasons for being summoned to an institution within the judicial system and proceedings. Only one half of the respondents, who are subjected to institutional measures, state that when they arrived at the institution, they received a full explanation of the reasons of being summoned and how proceedings would look like, while one fifth of the respondents did not receive any or received very little explanation. In addition, only one third of the respondents received a full explanation of their rights in proceedings, while one half of the respondents did not receive any or received very little explanation of their rights. The research shows that professionals often do not use sufficiently child-friendly language in talking to children. Nearly half of the respondents report that they are not satisfied or are minimally satisfied with the way of being provided with the information and that they could not fully understand it. The findings regarding the respect for the dignity of children during proceedings are also worrying. Although the standards of child-friendly justice clearly require that a child must be treated with respect during proceedings, more than half of the respondents stated that some professionals did not treat them with respect or treated them with very little respect during proceedings. In addition, the research shows that a small number of children receive some form of psychosocial support after proceedings. Only one third of the respondents state that after proceedings they received some type of medical or psychological support.
The CRC also presented the informative materials and a video (Child-friendly Justice brochure and poster, and Justice from the Perspective of Children and Youth video), which were developed during the project implementation in cooperation with the children and youth from the CRC’s DX Club, and in consultation with the pupils from other schools across Serbia, with the aim to inform as many children and young people as possible about their rights if they come in contact with the law.
The conference was held as part of the project “Child Rights in Serbia – Improving the Position of Children in the Judicial System of the Republic of Serbia – CRIS”, implemented in cooperation with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and NGO ASTRA – Anti-Trafficking Action, with the financial support of the European Commission through the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (reference number: 878485 – CRIS). The goal of the project is to improve outcomes for children in contact with the law, through the systemic exercise of child rights and the support based on experience from judicial practice in proceedings conducted by public authority holders.
Watch the video of the conference:
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