Within the juvenile justice context, minors face, in some cases, difficulties in understanding their rights and legal duties, caused by the use of a too complex language. A child friendly language, formatted as appropriate for their age and maturity, can increase the self-confidence of children and, consequently, their participation in all the stages of the proceedings.
Within the Child Friendly JT project “Hope for Children” CRC Policy Center, co-ordinated by Fundación Diagrama Intervención Psicosocial (Spain), aims to contribute to the correct implementation of Directives 2012/13/EU on the right of information in criminal proceedings, 2010/64/EU on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings and (EU) 2016/800 on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings.
In other words, the main objectives are related to the promotion of child friendly justice by facilitating the comprehension of the information provided to the minors in conflict with the law, as well as their parents/holders of parental responsibility, through the use of a language adapted to their stage of development.
The expected results of the project are:
- Improvement in the correct implementation of Directive 2012/13/EU, Directive 2010/64/EU and Directive (EU) 2016/800;
- Improvement in the comprehension of the information provided to minors and their parents/holders of parental responsibility in criminal proceedings;
- Contribution to more child-friendly European Juvenile Justice Systems;
- Improvement in the knowledge of professionals working in juvenile justice system.
The activities of the project are:
- Assessment and analysis of the needs of minors in conflict with the law through questionnaires, focus groups, meetings with Public Administration;
- Creating information leaflets and assessing the effectiveness and impact;
- Project dissemination by creating website sections, sending newsletters and so on.
The project is co-funded by the DG Justice and Consumers, European Commission (Ref. JUST-AG-2016/JUST-AG-2016-06).
Coordinator: Fundación Diagrama Intervención Psicosocial (Spain); Partners: Observatoire International de Justice Juvenile (Belgium), Istituto Don Calabria (Italy), Association Social Activities and Practices Institute SAPI (Bulgaria), NGO Udruga Most (Croatia).
Duration: 24 months.
In order to properly apply child-friendly justice, respecting children’s right to information is essential, as well as adapting such information to their age, in a language that they can understand (Guidelines of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on Child Friendly Justice, 2010). Children should be informed about their rights during all stages of the proceedings, in a language which they are able to understand.
In this framework, the project ‘Child-Friendly JT – The right of minors to information, translation and interpretation in criminal proceedings: Development of child-friendly justice tools’, aims to contribute to the correct implementation of Directives 2012/13/EU (on the right of information in criminal proceedings), 2010/64/EU (on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings) and 2016/800/EU (on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings).
To do so, children’s knowledge of their rights during the judicial process will be assessed. In order to analyse this knowledge, an evaluation questionnaire will be created, and later, discussion groups within detention centres for juvenile offenders will be organised.
After an evaluation of the needs expressed during the project, three information brochures will be created for children, in which their rights throughout the criminal procedure will be presented. The brochures will also contain relevant information on criminal procedures, all in a language adapted to the child’s comprehension capacity.
In order to develop these documents, the needs of the different participating countries will be analysed through the results obtained. These brochures will be different according to each stage of the judicial process: police arrest / custody, trial and detention. The goal is for children to be able to participate in their own judicial process and for them to be aware of their rights.
In addition, taking into consideration the child’s right to interpretation and translation under a child-friendly justice system, these brochures will be translated into the 24 official languages of the European Union, as well as in the 3 non-official languages most present within European juvenile justice systems.
Likewise, 3 information brochures will be developed for parents/holders of parental authority, in order for them to have access to clear information, available in a simplified language.
In order to analyse the impact and the effectiveness of the information brochures, a pilot study containing a pre and post evaluation will be carried out with 2 independent groups (juvenile offenders and children outside the juvenile justice system).
- Contributing to more child-friendly European juvenile justice systems.
- Promoting the effective participation of children in conflict with the law and their parents/holders of parental responsibility in criminal proceedings.
- Improving the knowledge regarding chidren’s rights of professionals working with children in the juvenile justice system.
- Facilitating a translation to young offenders and parents/holders of parental responsibility of their rights and relevant information in court proceedings in their own language, if they do not know the language of the country where they are being prosecuted.
The first steering group meeting of the project ‘Child-Friendly JT – The right of minors to information, translation and interpretation in criminal proceedings: Development of child-friendly tools’ took place on the 25th and the 26th of July 2017 at the IJJO’s headquarters in Brussels.
- Improvement of the correct implementation of Directive 2012/13/EU, Directive 2010/64/EU and Directive 2016/800/EU.
- Improvement of the understanding of the information given to children and their parents/holders of parental responsibility in criminal proceedings.
- Contribution to more child-friendly European juvenile justice systems.
- Improvement of the knowledge of professionals of the juvenile justice system.