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Friday 13th of December 2019

What we do

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.

May 2014 - May 2016 - Europe Adolescent, Child, Education, Protection, Rights, Victims

Participation in legal proceedings places children at high risk of victimisation. Research from SAPI (Social Activities and Practices Institute – Bulgaria) showed that children are repeatedly interviewed about the same subject by police officers, social workers, investigators, experts, judges, etc., most of which have little child-oriented knowledge, and are not capable of correctly interrogating children. Medical examinations are still conducted without consideration for the child’s specific needs, which carries a high risk for secondary victimisation, especially in sexual abuse cases. Overall, research shows that child victims or witnesses of crime’s rights to information, accompaniment and support are not at all guaranteed.

The project aims to improve the situation of child victims or witnesses of crime in legal proceedings through an integrated approach. In support of programme priority “Supporting victims of crime”, the project promotes the use of the 2012 Directive on minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, “in order to improve mutual trust with the view to ensuring protection of rights of victims and of the accused”.

The project's final outcome is the production of a detailed model for multidisciplinary needs assessment and, on this basis, the development of an integrated approach for guaranteeing the child’s rights and best interests during their involvement in legal proceedings.

The target groups are:

1) Professionals involved in criminal procedures (police, prosecutors, judges) in Bulgaria, France, Italy and Romania, who will take part in educational activities to improve their attitudes and their capacity for guaranteeing the child’s rights in a multidisciplinary manner.

2) Professionals from the system of child protection; social service providers; forensic medicine specialists providing expertise and psycho-therapeutic support to child victims of crime in Bulgaria and France; and state policy makers, who will be introduced to an integrated approach to assessing and responding to the needs of children involved in criminal proceedings.

The project is scheduled to last 24 months. It started in May 2014 and will end in May 2016.

To access the project's web section, click here

July 2014 - December 2014 - Europe Adolescent, Child, Justice, Juvenile, Offenders, Reintegration, Research, Restorative, Rights, Standards, Victims

Restorative practices support a participative notion of justice, that favours reintegration over retribution and punishment. As such, by investing in the youths' bond to the community and in a process that stimulates assumption of responsibility, restorative practices may prove particularly appropriate to integrate the best interest of the child in the justice process.

Furthermore, this research, through its definite regional connotation, was designed to stress the common denominator of practices that vary considerably from one European country to the other. In particular, the traditional focus on a children´s rights perspective, that prevails in European and EU standards, and that includes both the rights of the offender and the victim.

The project, carried out by the IJJO's European Council for Juvenile Justice, provided for three main outputs, in the form of the following final publications:

Research and Selection of the Most Effective Juvenile Restorative Justice Practices in Europe: Snapshots from 28 EU Member States

The team of experts from Greisfwald University, composed of Professor Frieder Dunkel and Doctor Andrea Parosanu, were in charge of the analysis of existing restorative practices across the 28 EU Member States, reviewed in the 28 final national snapshots. The research investigated the various factors that contribute to the effectiveness of restorative justice, taking into account: the legal bases that, in each country, trigger the access and use to restorative practices; the organisational framework and the attribution of responsibilities that determine the delivery of restorative measures; the implementation of restorative justice in practice; and finally the evaluation of strengths and weaknesses of restorative measures.

Vol I: Research and Selection of the Most Effective Juvenile Restorative Justice Practices in Europe: Snapshots from 28 EU Member States

Protecting Rights, Restoring Respect and Strengthening Relationships: European Model for Restorative Justice with Children and Young People

The European Model, which analyses good restorative practices, and key features of effectiveness, is based on the research conducted by a team of experts in the field of restorative justice. The experts also investigated the use of restorative measures through three case studies: Belgium, Finland and Northern Ireland. Tim Chapman, Course Director of the Restorative Practices Masters at the University of Ulster, coordinated the overall project. Maija Sisko Gellin, Finnish Forum for Mediation, who has extensive experience of mediation with young people both in schools and the criminal justice system, supported the practice model, in particular through knowledge of the juvenile restorative justice system in Finland. Monique Anderson, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, also supported the practice model, calling on her experiences with the juvenile restorative justice system in Belgium.

Vol II: Protecting Rights, Restoring Respect and Strengthening Relationships: European Model for Restorative Justice with Children and Young People

Toolkit for Professionals: Implementing a European Model for Restorative Justice with Children and Young People

Finally, the Toolkit was realised under the direction of the same research team that produced the Model. This final publication was designed to allow for clear and efficient implementation of the principles and methods illustrated in the Model, and is devised for practitioners of restorative justice and justice professionals, in order to diffuse effective practices.

Vol III: Toolkit for Professionals: Implementing a European Model for Restorative Justice with Children and Young People

You can access the web section here.

April 2013 - April 2013 Colombia - South America Adolescent, Crime, Delinquency, Good practices, Justice, Juvenile, Prevention, Violence

In the axis of Citizen Security of the Eurosocial II program led by French Expertise Internationale in Paris - FEI (coordinating partner) and the International Juvenile Justice Observatory in Brussels - OIJJ (Operating Partner), works in connection with the coordination of actors in Public Safety with special emphasis on youth violence prevention. One of the participant countries in this axis is Colombia, who has expressed a demand to the development of effective measures for the prevention of juvenile delinquency in the country. The national representative of the program for this action is the National Planning Department (DNP) and the national political leader is the Ministry of Justice and Law.

The aim of the program Eurosocial II is to assists technically and methodologically to the building of inputs needed for the design of a National Policy for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency in Colombia. This policy derives expressly from the Article No. 95 of Law No. 1453 of Public Safety. This new policy will help to strengthen inter-agency strategies to prevent youth crime in the country and to advance its reduction. Finally, new policy will be also complemented with other social policies and national and local plans that cater to the demands of the national youth population in Colombia

In this context it provides the realization of the International Forum, for which it has also had the important support of the Colombian Institute of Family Welfare - ICBF (national headquarters) and the German Agency for International Cooperation GIZ in Colombia. This scenario will join national efforts of a previous process of identifying good practices at the country level and will be socialized during the Forum. These best practices represent an important input for the construction of a National Policy for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency in Colombia. Both, the current political and institutional commitment in Colombia as its responsiveness, are still the most suitable for the design of a coherent and effective national policy that is linked to the experiences of national, regional, and international actors, and the evidence of efficacy in prevention of youth crime.

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

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

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

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