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Creating a non-violent juvenile justice system.

Geary, Patrick
June 4, 2015

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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