Login | Register

Twitter
Linkedin
Youtube
Monday 9th of December 2019

What we do

January 2017 - December 2018 - European Union Child, Criminal, Protection, Public policies

Criminal proceedings are daunting for all. However, children are more likely to be overwhelmed by the experience and less likely to participate effectively, seriously undermining their ability to receive a fair trial. In its Impact Assessment on a proposal for measures on special safeguards for children and vulnerable adults suspected or accused in criminal proceedings (hereafter, the Impact Assessment), the European Commission (hereafter, the Commission) noted that children “face a higher risk of discrimination or deprivation of their fundamental rights due to their lack of knowledge, maturity or mental and physical disabilities”.

Despite international and regional standards in this area, the Impact Assessment found that the fair trial rights of 1 million children facing criminal proceedings in the EU each year are not sufficiently guaranteed. A 2014 Commission study examined legislation and policy governing children’s involvement in criminal proceedings across the EU, highlighting the lack of key safeguards for child suspects and defendants in many countries. These include the failure to provide information in a manner specifically adapted to the child’s needs; insufficient protection from lengthy pre-trial detention; limitations on the right to be heard; and the failure to audio-visually record interviews with children.

The European Commission also identified the lack of mandatory specialist training for defence lawyers representing children as a key deficiency in many Member States, including Hungary and Romania. Defence lawyers lack interdisciplinary training (involving, for example, juvenile justice experts -lawyers, judges, prosecutors, NGOs and academics-, social workers and child psychologists) on (a) the international and regional standards which can be used to ensure children enjoy their right to a fair trial, (b) the avenues available for enforcing those standards and (c) the specific skills required to ensure that child suspects and defendants can effectively participate in criminal proceedings. Furthermore, there is an absence of regional networking opportunities through which defence lawyers representing children can exchange knowledge and develop strategic regional responses to systemic challenges facing their clients.

The EU Directive on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings, which may reach its transposition deadline during the project timeframe, and other regional and international standards, including the Council of Europe's child-friendly justice guidelines and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, have the potential to strengthen the safeguards available for child suspects and defendants in criminal proceedings, but only if legal professionals are fully equipped to use them in their day-to-day practice.

MAIN ACTIVITIES

Regional conference: organisation of a regional conference to ensure that the development of the two main outputs of the project, the toolkit and the training programme, are informed by (a) knowledge of the challenges faced by both child suspects and defendants in criminal proceedings and the lawyers who represent them and (b) interdisciplinary expertise on the skills required by defence lawyers when representing children. The conference will provide the opportunity for a wide range of experts (including juvenile justice experts; lawyers, judges, prosecutors, NGOs and academics, as well as social workers and child psychologists) to share examples of good practice and inform the content of the toolkit and training programme. A conference report will be produced as a record of the expert input collaged during the conference.

Toolkit and training programme: the training materials, with both in-person and online components, can be used in a sustainable and replicable way to train lawyers across the EU in the knowledge and skills required effectively to represent child suspects and defendants in criminal proceedings. They are based on the perceptions of EU defence practitioners regarding the challenges faced by child suspects and defendants in criminal proceedings (including case examples), the challenges which lawyers face in providing effective legal presentation to child suspects and defendants, and the current training opportunities available to them. As well as this, the materials are based on research about existing analysis on the experience of child suspects and defendants in criminal proceedings, the perspectives of children on their experiences in criminal proceedings, and existing practice on the training of lawyers in this area.

- Production of the toolkit: to set out relevant international and regional standards, including a guide to the EU Directive, guidance on the practical application of those standards, practical checklists for defence lawyers to use when representing child suspects and defendants, and information on how to access international and regional avenues of redress.

- Production of the in-person training programme: including an agenda, sample slides, case studies, group exercises and assessments are used during the two-day training programme for defence lawyers,  including guidance for training providers on effective marketing of the programme, adaptation of the programme to the specific needs in their jurisdiction, and practical tips for the delivery of the programme.

- Production of the online training programme: featuring the materials produced for the in-person trainings, as well as short videos from expert trainers.

Regional training course: the two-day regional training course introduces bar associations from all 28 Member States to the project training materials and encourages them to deliver similar training programmes in their own jurisdictions. Adopting a train-the-trainer model, the two-day course demonstrates to participants how to use and tailor the training materials for future training opportunities. A regional training report will identify any problems with the training materials which can be addressed through further revision, and will develop practical tips on delivering training to be included in the final version of the training materials.

National training courses: country-specific training to 80 lawyers, 40 lawyers in each of Hungary and Romania, will increase their knowledge of relevant international and regional standards and improve their practical skills in order to ensure the effective participation of child suspects and defendants. Country-specific needs will have been identified through research on the challenges faced by child suspects and defendants in criminal proceedings and current approaches to the training of defence lawyers on this area of practice, as well as on lawyers' perception on their training needs. The training materials will be adapted to the specific needs in Hungary and Romania, both of which are jurisdictions where defence lawyers currently receive limited training on how to represent effectively child suspects and defendants. A short national training report will be produced on each national training course, identifying any problems with the training materials and setting out practical tips on development and delivery of country-specific training programmes for inclusion in the final version of the training materials.

Click here to go to the project's web section on the IJJO website.

July 2016 - June 2018 - International Assistance, Child, Prevention, Training, Violence

As the European agenda entails, the issue of radicalisation and countering violent extremism has increasingly become a priority for every European Union (EU) Member State. The radicalisation of EU citizens, which may go as far as their departure to fight for terrorist and extreme violent organisations such as IS, poses a genuine security threat to the European Union, its member states and neighbouring countries.

The quickening pace of this phenomenon means that repressive measures are no longer sufficient and that a new strategy based on prevention needs to be adopted.

The project “The prevention of juvenile radicalisation: Promoting the use of alternatives to detention through judicial training” will address the issue of juvenile radicalisation in detention, within and outside the prison system, through the sharing of knowledge and good practices between judicial professionals and actors of several EU Member States (EUMS), especially those drawing on cross-sector collaboration. It is based on the assumption that efforts to promote disengagement from violence and extremism will be more effective if they build on existing structures for crime prevention and rehabilitation.

The activities proposed in this project, and especially the training programme, will therefore target in priority the judiciary and judicial staff: judges, prosecutors and court officers, as well as other legal practitioners and actors involved in the justice system: lawyers, probation officers, educators, mediators and policymakers, as being the group most susceptible of benefiting of, and implementing, knowledge and good practices shared and learnt through the project.

The project will be focused on the three following themes:

The prevention of radicalisation in detention.

Tertiary prevention and reinsertion.

De-radicalisation processes through alternatives to detention, including community and family based approaches to de-radicalisation.

Main Activities

  • Overview of the situation of radicalisation among youngsters in Europe and the use of alternatives to detention in EUMS: providing in-depth research on the situation of radicalisation among youngsters and the use of alternatives to detention in the 28 EUMS. This research is provided by two external consultants, specialists on radicalisation and judicial training issues, who are also in charge of the training package. A group of 4 experts also contributes to this diagnosis and analysis by sharing their knowledge and experience in order to improve the contents of the training package. Furthermore, each partner participates to the research by providing a national report on the situation of radicalisation and the use of alternatives to detention in their home country.
  • National practice-oriented training and knowledge sharing: exchanging policies, learning from good practices and training of the trainers concerning the prevention of radicalisation and the use of alternatives to detention in partners' countries. This activity, in which all partners will participate, consists of 3 national meetings organised in Germany, Belgium and Spain, each one being focused on a specific theme and composed of a national workshop to exchange on good practices, a study visit and a training session led by the two external consultants -who produce the training package.
  • Training manual: production, and subsequent translation into national languages, of a training package. The training manual is composed of 5 volumes: 1. European policy and theoretical framework; 2. Prevention of radicalisation in detention; 3. Community-based and family intervention; 4. Tertiary prevention experiences; 5. National reports and highlight of good practices. It is intended for the partners and national stakeholders in order to allow for its dissemination at a national level in the partner’s countries through national workshops.
  • Online training course: production of a self-learning activity based on the training manual and hosted on the IJJO e-learning platform in each of the partners’ languages that will be open to stakeholders in each partner’s country.
  • Knowledge diffusion and final conference: recommendations on the prevention of radicalisation and the use of alternatives to detention for youngsters will be embodied in a policy brief, while the results of the project will be presented during a final conference in Paris that will bring together all the partners of the project and European Council for Juvenile Justice’ members (especially from the Judiciary and the Public Administration sections).
  •  

Click here to go to the project's web section on the IJJO website.

December 2016 - May 2018 - European Union Adolescent, Disorders, Health, Illness, Justice, Juvenile, Research

The project ‘FACT FOR MINORS – Fostering Alternative Care for Troubled Minors’ intends to address children with psychological, psychiatric or personality disorders, hosted by alternative care communities (or socio-educational communities) as a consequence of penal measures.

Research interests in mental health problems in juvenile justice have grown over the past years, as several studies throughout the world have shown that mental disorders are highly prevalent among children under penal measures. This represents a significant problem, even more so if the special needs of these children remain unidentified and unaddressed, with significant long-term effects on their life chances and on their physical and mental health and well-being.

The issues raised in European justice systems by children serving a penal measure in alternative care communities that show evidence of psychological, psychiatric or personality disorders, have been poorly addressed. In general, the dilemma posed by the intervention with children in the juvenile justice with such disorders lies in the fact that an inadequate therapeutic response may lead to chronical psychiatric disorders, while an inadequate socio-educational response may result in further marginalisation.

The main issue is that these children need adequate clinical attention and present clinical dilemmas, which is why they are often a real challenge for the social workers in alternative care communities. The response to this challenge cannot lay in parallel interventions by the juvenile justice and the health sectors; instead, it lays in a proper integration of the interventions of the two agencies and of the different professionals that work for or with these children. Indeed, managing children with psychological, psychiatric or personality disorders in alternative care communities requires a holistic, multidisciplinary and multiagency approach, focused on prevention, evaluation, treatment (including emergency treatment), and recovery, considering risk evaluation of clinical and legal relapse. Such approach is therefore both therapeutic and socio-educational.

In this context, this project intends to reinforce the capacity of alternative care communities in five European Union (EU) countries -Finland, Germany, Italy, Portugal and Spain- to adequately support and respond to the specific needs of the children with psychiatric disorders under penal measures.

Such aim will be pursued by a two-fold action that will seek to:

 Strengthen the capacity of, and the coordination between, all professionals working with and for children in alternative care to address the needs of children with psychiatric disorders; and

 Boost interagency cooperation, in particular on issues related to the alternative care of minors under penal measures and with psychiatric disorders.

MAIN ACTIVITIES

 Successful intervention methods to address the needs of children with mental health disorders in alternative care will be identified, adapted and tested. The activities in this sense are the collection of statistic and qualitative data, where available, as well as the review of the existing national literature, practices and legal framework on alternative care communities and minors with psychological or personality disorders.

 Capacity building with professionals working with or for children in alternative care in 5 partner countries and at European level through an e-learning platform. First, a needs assessment of the identified setting for the capacity-building activities is performed; second, for the engagement of the professionals for the capacity building, there is a presentation of the project aims, the identification of the professionals’ needs and institutional strengths, and the development of a capacity-building methodology. This methodology will be tested with the partners’ supervision, and followed by several national, transnational and experts meetings and national reports.

 Strengthening of multi-agency and multi-disciplinary cooperation in the area of child protection in the 5 partner countries also through finalization of formal commitments. National multi-agency meetings will be held to contribute to this end.

 Development of outputs aimed at ensuring maximum impact, visibility and sustainability of the project results and in particular of the capacity building methodology developed. The outputs will be the European guidelines for the alternative care of children with special needs and the European Handbook for professionals working with children in alternative care. A website of the project will also be set up, and the project outputs’ impact will be verified at the national level by the corresponding Ministries.

 Communication and dissemination events to present project resulst and raise awareness on the rights of children in alternative care. The dissemination events will be held at the national level by the corresponding Ministries, and a final conference will be organised in Brussels. Finally, all partners will contribute to the dissemination of the project’s results through social media and events.

Click here to go to the project's web section on the IJJO website.

June 2015 - June 2017 - Europe Adolescent, Crime, Delinquency, Detention, Freedom, Law, Legislation, Measures

The European Council has noted that “excessively long periods of pre-trial detention are detrimental for the individual, can prejudice judicial cooperation between the member states and do not represent the values for which the European Union stands”, considering that pre-trial detention offers important justice safeguards while it is intended as an exceptional measure. Over-use of this measure is ruining lives and using a large amount of European Union countries’ resources.

There is a clear need for guaranteeing minimum conditions when a minor is arrested before trial. Despite this, there are no common rules for all Member States in relation to procedures and conditions of such preventive detention and pre-trial detention, regardless of the interest of United Nations and European Union Institutions.

Therefore, in order to comply with the minimum rules, the MIPREDET project aims to explore the situation in different countries in Europe, in order to recommend measures to be applied to fulfil the identified needs and assess how the new proposal for a Directive of The European Parliament and of the Council on procedural safeguards for children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings is being applied in practice. The target groups of the project are: organisations related to juvenile justice; experts (researchers, university professors); custodial centre staff; justice practitioners (judges, attorneys, lawyers); policy makers; and law enforcement authorities.

The project is scheduled to last 24 months. It started in June 2015 and will end in June 2017.

For more information, click here.

March 2015 - February 2017 - Europe Good practices, Justice, Juvenile, Reform, Systems, Training

The varying levels of implementation of international standards concerning children in conflict with the law have become a problem inherent in the field of Juvenile Justice, due to various reasons, with a lack of specific training in Juvenile Justice at both the EU and the local level being key. Current training methods in how Juvenile Justice stakeholders communicate with children in conflict with the law is somewhat lacking.

Therefore, the project ‘Improving Juvenile Justice Systems in Europe: Training for Professionals’, elaborated by the International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO), intends to provide information, knowledge and training to juvenile justice national authorities and staff working with juvenile offenders at a European level, in order to promote a better implementation of international standards concerning children in conflict with the law. It involves the IJJO think tank and formal network: the European Council of Juvenile Justice.

The project focuses on improving juvenile justice national systems and exchanging promising practices concerning juvenile offenders subject to sanctions or measures. It consists of training modules on the creation on child-friendly justice and follows a two part approach:

Training of trainers (national Juvenile Justice stakeholders) and,

National interdisciplinary workshops on child-friendly justice (for defender, social, healthcare professionals, penitentiary staff, etc).

The training of trainers focuses on capacity building for juvenile justice stakeholders and the content of national workshops will follow the recommendations of the IJJO White Paper ‘Save Money, Protect Society and Realise Youth Potential - Improving Youth Justice Systems during a Time of Economic Crisis’, in particular how and why assess the need of children in conflict with the law deprived of liberty, with a special interest in promoting alternative measures and restorative approaches.

The accent is given to the importance of developing individualised programs for children in conflict with the law, and developing specific knowledge for professionals concerning children rights, communication with children and preparation to the release.

For more information, click here.

Logo OIJJ
  • International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO). Belgian Public Utility Foundation

    All rights reserved

  • Head Office: Rue Mercelis, nº 50. 1050. Brussels. Belgium

    Phone: 00 32 262 988 90. Fax: 00 32 262 988 99. oijj@oijj.org

We use cookies on this site to enhance your user experience

You can change the settings or get more information here.