Vienna, Austria 01 December 2022 – Children come into contact with the justice system in many different ways, including in criminal justice as victims, witnesses or perpetrators of crimes. All of a sudden, children enter a daunting adult environment which they cannot understand. Altering criminal justice proceedings and ensuring that those that work with children understand the psychosocial needs of children during proceedings is therefore essential.
Flagged as a priority topic by members of the GLO.ACT Women's Network, since many network members come in contact with, for example, child victims of trafficking, GLO.ACT organized on 4 October 2022 a workshop on the "Psychosocial needs of children during criminal justice proceedings".
The online workshop, delivered by Valérie Chmara, Psychosocial Support Specialist, UNODC, was divided into two parts. The first part focused on the psychosocial development of the child and criminal justice proceedings, and the second part looked at psychosocial considerations for children's participation in criminal justice proceedings.
Ms Chmara explained that one must take the needs of children into account during criminal justice proceedings to:
• Preserve the well-being of children
• Have fair and effective criminal justice proceedings
• Have an appropriate judicial response to the specific needs of each child
When addressing the issue of why it is important to preserve the well-being of children during criminal justice proceedings, she highlighted that the system can expose children to harmful experiences that create new psychological and physical problems. Therefore children can exit the system with more psychological and physical problems than when they entered it. She further elaborated that an appropriate judicial response to each child's specific needs recognizes that each child is different with her/his own vulnerabilities and strengths.
The workshop also included interactive breakout sessions. During the sessions, participants worked in a group setting on adapting communication to a child and identifying challenges imbedded in the justice system regarding the psychosocial needs of children during criminal justice proceedings.
52 GLO.ACT Women's Network members and practitioners from GLO.ACT partner countries participated in the event.
The Global Action against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants – Asia and the Middle East (GLO.ACT-Asia and the Middle East) is a four-year (2018-2022), €12 million joint initiative by the European Union (EU) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) being implemented in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in up to five countries: Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (Afghanistan), Islamic Republic of Iran (I.R. of Iran), Republic of Iraq (Iraq), Islamic Republic of Pakistan (Pakistan). GLO.ACT-Bangladesh is a parallel initiative also financed by the EU and implemented with IOM.
The project builds on a global community of practice set in motion in GLO.ACT 2015-2019 and assists governmental authorities and civil society organizations in targeted, innovative, and demand-driven interventions: sustaining effective strategy and policy development, legislative review and harmonization, capability development, and regional and trans-regional cooperation. The project also provides direct assistance to victims of human trafficking and vulnerable migrants through the strengthening of identification, referral, and protection mechanisms. The project is fully committed to mainstreaming Human Rights and Gender Equality considerations across all of its activities.
The project is funded by the European Union.