Source: (2013) The International NGO Council on Violence Against Children.

Juvenile justice should be neither punitive nor retributive, but rather emphasise prevention as a first priority. If children have already come into conflict with the law, however, rights-based measures should be taken to divert them away from the formal justice system into community-centred social education and reintegration programmes wherever possible and appropriate. Where children are nonetheless formally processed and sentenced, every effort must be made to find a suitable non-custodial measure and thereby ensure that children are deprived of their liberty only as a last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time. Restorative justice approaches merit particular attention as they seek to address the root causes of offending behaviour rather than simply examine the events surrounding an offence in isolation. Children must also have recourse when violence is perpetrated against them, and rights-based, child-sensitive complaints mechanisms should be accessible at all stages of the juvenile justice system. At the same time, the situation of children in conflict with the law must be actively monitored to guarantee full support and protection. In addition, relevant data should be collected to determine the extent and nature of violence against children in the juvenile justice system, and research should be undertaken to develop and improve individual responses and interventions. Last, countries must build public support for non-violent juvenile justice and foster greater respect for the rights of children in conflict with the law. (excerpt)

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