This module is a resource for lecturers
Around the world, significant numbers of children come into contact with formal and informal justice systems as victims, witnesses, or as alleged as, accused of, or recognized as having infringed the penal law. Children may also be in contact with justice systems as a result of their migration status, their presence in situations of conflict, or cross-border settings, or in instances where interventions are required to ensure their care, protection, health or well-being.
In recognition of the various contexts in which children require access to justice, this Module presents materials that encourage students to engage critically with the contexts that involve children’s right to access to justice, and the measures necessary for child- and gender-sensitive child protection systems, specialized child justice systems, and related extra-legal institutions and supports, to ensure effective access to justice for children.
The Module is divided into five topics:
- Topic one explains the importance of the justice system and equal access to justice for all as integral to the rule of law and the realization of human rights.
- Topic two introduces the international legal framework on child rights, and the importance of the four general principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in the interpretation and application of children’s rights with respect to justice.
- Topic three details the United Nations standards and norms on justice for children; the goals and guiding principles elaborated in the Guidance Note of the Secretary-General: UN Approach to Justice for Children (United Nations, 2008); and explains the core requirements of a specialized juvenile justice system.
- Topic four focuses on the issue of justice for children in conflict with the law, directing attention to both the specific legal safeguards for these children, and the root causes that bring a child into conflict with the law.
- Topic five touches on the ways in which the international legal and normative framework can respond to a number of emergent issues that pose challenges to the full realization of justice for children globally.
- Acquire a working knowledge of the relevant provisions of the CRC and the international normative framework relevant to justice for children.
- Recognize the multi-disciplinary evidence base that underpins the legal requirement that States establish “laws, procedures, authorities and institutions specifically applicable to children” (CRC, article 40 (3)).
- Develop an applied understanding of the core components of a specialized juvenile justice system; and practice skills in applying this knowledge to critically assess the law, policy and procedure at the national or local level.
- Articulate a broad understanding of the root causes that bring children into conflict with the law, and the measures that can redress these root causes.
Next: Key issues