14 Oct, 2021
Child-Sensitive Criminal Justice for Child Victims of Violence
Violence against children is recognized as a complex problem that requires a holistic and multi-sectoral response. Criminal justice institutions must strengthen their efforts to prevent and respond to violence against children. They need to demonstrate greater diligence in investigating, prosecuting, convicting and rehabilitating perpetrators of violent crimes against children, so as to effectively protect children against violence. However, they must also ensure that their own practices do not compound the problem and subject children to further abuses and trauma. All interventions must be age and gender appropriate, respect and uphold the children’s rights, and be responsive to the children’s needs, interests, and circumstances. Appreciating that violence against children remains highly prevalent, socially tolerated and largely unpunished crime, many countries are adopting measures to ensure that their criminal justice system offer more effective protections to child victims of violence.
The United Nations Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence against Children in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (Model Strategies), adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2014, offer a holistic approach for criminal justice system to prevent and respond to violence against children. The Model Strategies provide guidance for the implementation of a comprehensive and holistic crime prevention and criminal justice framework that address violence against children in its many forms, including violence against children within the justice system. ICCLR Senior Associate Prof. Yvon Dandurand, the lead UN consultant for the development of the Model Strategies, developed two tools to facilitate their implementation: Introducing the United Nations Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence against Children in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice: A New Tool for Policymakers, Criminal Justice Officials and Practitioners and Planning the Implementation of the United Nations Model Strategies and Practical Measures on the Elimination of Violence against Children in the Field of Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice: A Checklist. The tools were published by UNODC with the support of Thailand Institute of Justice, a PNI partner of ICCLR.
The Model Strategies have been used in different contexts to assess criminal justice systems’ responses to violence against children and, more generally, justice for children. Building on ICCLR’s previous work in this field, a forthcoming publication entitled Towards Child-Sensitive Criminal Justice in Southeast Asia for Child Victims of Violence: A Baseline Analysis Using the UN Model Strategies on the Elimination of Violence against Children, by ICCLR Senior Associate Eileen Skinnider, examines the measures taken by ASEAN countries have taken to prevent and respond to violence against children. Using the Model Strategies as a blueprint and guiding framework, this study reviews the current situation in the ten member states of ASEAN, maps out good and innovative practices within the region, and offers recommendations for enhancing the criminal justice response to violence against children.
Photo by Ben Dutton on Unsplash.