Whether they are a victim of a crime, a young offender, the child of divorcing parents or the child of an offender, most of the children and youth who are involved in the justice system are among the most vulnerable members of our society. Ensuring the safety of these children and youth is of the highest importance. Young people must to be treated with respect and in a culturally appropriate manner.
Services need to be available to support children, youth, and families in difficulty, to heal young victims and to help young offenders turn their lives around. Justice systems tend to be difficult to access, bureaucratic and intimidating. Justice services that are child and youth friendly ensure that all children and youth are treated fairly, respectfully, and are given the support to heal or be rehabilitated.
UNCRC and JUSTICE SERVICES
Article 3 is about what is best for children
Adults should always make a decision by considering what is in the best interest of the child.
Articles 5, 9 & 18 support the importance of family
Children and youth have the right to be given guidance by their parents and family. They also have the right to live and be with their parents unless their parents are not in a position where they are providing the best support and care for their children. This means that families also need support. Children and youth have the right to be brought up by their parents, if possible.
Article 12 is about the views of the child
Children and young people have a right to participate in all matters affecting them, and those views should be given due weight “in accordance with the age and maturity of the child”. In a court of law, children should have the opportunity to express their opinions and views on the matters that affect them.
Article 16 protects an individual’s privacy and reputation
Children and young people have a right to privacy, protecting them from attacks against their way of life, their good name and that of their families and their home.
Articles 19 & 39 protect children from harm
Children and youth have the right to be protected from being hurt or badly treated. Children and youth have the right to help if they have been hurt, neglected, or badly treated.
Article 40 is about the right to defend oneself
Children have the right to defend themselves if they are accused of breaking the law.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
~ Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., Civil Rights Movement Leader