The Child Rights Centre Published the Video MAYBE


“I’m sorry that no one trusts me. I lack support,” a boy from the institution for the education of children and youth in Niš.

In order to draw the attention of the public to the situation of children who are placed in the educational institutions in Belgrade, Niš and Knjaževac, the Child Rights Centre (CRC) created the video MAYBE as part of the project “Promoting Positive Juvenile Justice System in Serbia”, implemented by the CRC in cooperation with the Republic Institute for Social Protection, and with the financial support of the European Commission through the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme. Young people from the CRC’s DX Club, actively participated in the making of this video, by presenting some statements of children and young people subjected to custodial diversion measures, collected during ten workshops held in three institutions for education of children and youth in Belgrade, Niš and Knjaževac. Children and young people who commit criminal offences often do not see a bright future for themselves, nor do they have a life plan after leaving the institution.

“If my family had supported me, maybe I wouldn’t be here now,” a boy from the institution for the education of children and youth in Knjaževac.

Children in educational institutions in Belgrade, Niš and Knjaževac are in a particularly difficult situation. Regardless of whether these are criminally responsible children who have committed criminal offences, children who are not held criminally responsible, or children who have not committed any criminal offence, but have been placed in these institutions due to neglect by their parents or guardians, they have pronounced behavioural problems or multiple developmental challenges and disorders, including mental health disorders, and therefore require substantial and specialised support from qualified educators, psychologists, pedagogues and similar experts.

As a result of committing criminal offences, children can be deprived of their liberty, excluded from the educational system and stigmatised by the community, which further prevents their reintegration and resocialisation. Due to insufficient opportunities and possibilities, these children fall into a vicious circle of committing criminal offences again, which often continues even after they have reached the age of adulthood.

Precisely because of this combination of different risk factors and the extreme vulnerability of this group of children, the systems of justice and social protection play a key role in protecting their rights. However, children in conflict with the law often do not receive timely and individualised support, the response of the system is not always adjusted to the child and the rights of the child are frequently violated.

Therefore, it is very important to work on the development andimplementation of innovative, effective evidence-based programmes for children in conflict with the law, to strengthen the capacities of experts in the systems of social protection and justice to act in accordance with the principle of the best interests of the child, to strengthen multisectoral cooperation through a multidisciplinary approach in order to respond to the needs of each child, as well as to improve the participation of children in procedures that concern them, through informing them about their rights and strengthening their knowledge and capacities.