Children are often treated similarly to adults under the law in some West and Central African countries, and both adult and juvenile criminal justice systems may frequently use deprivation of liberty as the primary sentencing option. Both may also fail to consider the needs and best interests of children and address the root causes that bring them into conflict with the law. Violence against women is, unfortunately, frequently seen as a private matter that takes place behind closed doors, and there are sometimes significant legal shortcomings to investigate and prosecute domestic abuses.

Special attention must be paid to children, young people and women as victims, witnesses or accused in criminal cases. UNODC assists Member States and regional and national level partners to strengthen criminal justice systems to deliver justice in a fair, effective and equitable manner by:

  • Strengthening legal, policy and operational frameworks for the delivery of justice for children;
  • Strengthening legal and policy frameworks for the criminal justice response to violence against women.

Additional Information:

Handbook for Professionals and Policymakers on Justice in Matters involving Child Victims and Witnesses of Crime