Free online course for justice professionals dealing with child victims

16 January 2012 - Millions of children worldwide suffer from violence and crime every year. Many children have neither access to justice nor redress for crimes committed against them. Among those who seek redress and support, many face lack of compassion, respect and understanding and some are subject to abuse and "secondary victimization" by criminal justice professionals.

In order to help to protect children in such situations, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and UNODC have launched  an online training portal for justice professionals who deal with cases involving child victims and child witnesses of crime.

The training portal, the first of its kind, will target geographically diverse criminal justice professionals, including law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, social workers, health sector workers, lawyers and informal justice providers.

The training offers 12 general modules and one specific module for each profession. It is anticipated that at the end of the training, participants will have improved knowledge and understanding of relevant standards, best practices and approaches in dealing with child victims and witnesses of crime. The staff of the UNODC Justice Section will be on hand to answer queries from trainees, and a feedback form will also be available on the portal.

To access the training courses,  please register here and log in. Professionals are encouraged to go through the general training package, which is based on a human rights approach, as well as the specific training tool adapted to their profession.

The content of the online training courses is based on existing United Nations guidelines on justice in matters involving child victims and witnesses of crime. The guidelines, issued jointly by UNODC and UNICEF, were adopted by Member States to help countries to adapt their criminal justice procedures and institutions to treat such children with respect and understanding of their particular needs and rights.

Early this year, the two organizations issued a  Manual for the Measurement of Juvenile Justice Indicators, which introduces fifteen juvenile justice indicators and explains how measuring those indicators can contribute to the protection of the child. It also offers practical guidance and tools for information collection, information collation and calculation of the indicators.  Guidelines on child victims and witnesses, a model law and related commentary and a  handbook on Justice in matters involving child victims and witnesses of crime were also issued.

In 2009, a  model law on justice in matters involving child victims and witnesses of crime was issued to help countries in adapting their national legislation on justice in matters involving child victims and witnesses of crime. The model law is intended as a tool for drafting legal provisions concerning assistance for and the protection of child victims and witnesses of crime, particularly within the justice process. Designed to be adaptable to the needs of each State, the model law was drafted taking into particular account the provisions of the Economic and Social Council Guidelines on Justice in Matters involving Child Victims and Witnesses of Crime (2005).

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