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Tuesday 12th of November 2019

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Street Children and Juvenile Justice: Prevention Strategies

Marie Wernham
IJJO. First International Conference on Juvenile Justice. Salamanca 2004.


Communication submitted in the First International Conference of Juvenile Justice "Juvenile Justice and the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency in a Globalized World". Salamanca 2004.

Street-involved children are particularly vulnerable to human rights abuses within criminal justice systems: they are more likely to come into contact with the system in the first place (whether or not they have actually committed an offence) and are less able to defend themselves from abuses once within the system. Due to their lack of contact with responsible adults and lack of fixed address street children are less likely to benefit from diversion schemes, release mechanisms such as bail and other alternatives to detention, even in countries where these options are available. The importance of investment in prevention strategies therefore cannot be overstated in the case of street children in order to break the abusive revolving door cycle of street life, arrest and detention.

This paper outlines strategies to address: a) the prevention of street migration and b) the prevention of first-time and re-offending, based on a distinction between the theories of developmental prevention and responsive prevention. The paper highlights the importance of approaches which are child rights-based, individualised, which repect children’s choices, their resiliency and peer relationships and which emphasise the role of the community. The paper outlines challenges common to prevention work and is illustrated throughout by practical project examples and quotations from street children themselves.



Year Language

2004 English

Category Type

Grey Literature Communication


Justice, Juvenile, Prevention, Programs, Street child


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