Child-friendly justice RSS
When children are involved with justice systems, whether as victims, defendants, witnesses or asylum-seekers, or when their parents divorce and disagree over custody, their rights can be limited or overlooked in many different ways.
Promoting child-friendly justice is at the centre of DG Justice actions. This includes:
- children's effective access to justice ;
- participation ;
- appropriate representation ;
- receiving relevant information in a way suitable to their age and level of maturity, and;
- adequate training of professionals dealing with children.
The best interests of the child can be achieved only if children are given the possibility to express their views in matters that concern them, and when those views are taken into account when decisions are made.
Ensuring child participation is a part of efforts to achieve child-friendly justice.
Key actions to achieve and promote child-friendly justice are:
- adopting a proposal for a directive on victims' rights, raising the level of protection of vulnerable victims, including children (adopted on 18 May 2011 );
- tabling a proposal for a directive on special safeguards for suspected or accused persons who are vulnerable, including children;
- revising the EU legislation facilitating the recognition and enforcement of decisions on parental responsibility with a view to ensuring, in the interest of the child, that decisions can be recognised and enforced as quickly as possible, including, where appropriate, the establishment of common minimum standards;
- promoting the use of the Council of Europe Guidelines of 17 November 2010 on child-friendly justice and taking them into account in future legal instruments in the field of civil and criminal justice;
- supporting and encouraging the development of training activities for judges and other professionals at European level regarding the optimal participation of children in judicial systems.
General comments of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child on: