Dr. Francisco Legaz CervantesChairman, International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO)
Welcome words of the ‘Juvenile Justice Without Borders’ International Award on its 7th Edition, 2022
"Dear friends, professionals and colleagues of the International Juvenile Justice Observatory.
As Chairman of the IJJO, I would like to express the great honour that it is for our organisation and for me personally to celebrate the 7th edition of the ‘Juvenile Justice Without Borders’ International Award.
This award was founded 12 years ago with the aim to recognise and promote among society the excellent professional work and firm commitment of people and institutions around the world that, from different fields, promote the rights of children that come into contact with juvenile justice systems, as well as those that contribute to the advancement of these systems.
These are also the objectives of the International Juvenile Justice Observatory. Our mission and purpose is to work for the rights and full development of children, especially those that come into contact with the law and are at risk of social exclusion. In this sense, our purpose is that the systems, policies, programmes and models of youth justice are more efficient and inclusive and that they guarantee children their rights, like protection, participation, education and the best interests of the child.
The awardees of this edition exemplify the values that the Observatory wishes to promote with this recognition."IJJO Chairman's full welcome speech, presenting the awardees
The awardees of this Seventh Edition are:
Mr. Bragi Guðbrandsson
Member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and former Director General of the Icelandic Government Agency for Child Protection
Awarded for his innovative work that has led to the creation of the Barnahus model, based on establishing child-friendly settings where professionals from different fields can work coordinated on a child’s case using a child-sensitive approach, always prioritising the best interests of the child. This model helps justice systems safeguard the rights of children who come into contact with them, avoiding their revictimisation and promoting their participatory rights with the support of trained professionals who know how to communicate with them.
"I am deeply honoured to receive this prestigious international ‘Juvenile Justice Without Borders’ Award. I will treasure the award, which in my mind will always be a living reminder of all children who have suffered abuse and trauma and at the same time an appreciation to the great professionals who are dedicated to the healing and justice for these child victims. I sincerely believe that the award will draw attention to and inspire further proliferation of Barnahus in all regions of the world".
Bragi Guðbrandsson is a Member of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child and the Former Director General of the Icelandic Government Agency for Child Protection (1995-2018). In addition, he is also the former Chair (2014 to 2016) and a current member of the Council of Europe Lanzarote Committee, the monitoring body of the Lanzarote Convention. He was a member of the expert groups that drafted the Lanzarote Convention (2009) and the Council of Europe Guidelines for child friendly justice (2010).
Mr. Guðbrandsson is the founder of the Icelandic establishment of Barnahus (Children´s House) in 1998, an inspiration for a child-friendly and multidisciplinary response to child abuse in around twenty countries. He is also an honorary founding member of the Promise Project for implementing the Barnahus model in numerous European countries.
Dr. César San Juan Guillén
Professor of Legal and Criminological Psychology at the University of the Basque Country/Euskal Herriko Unibertsitatea, Researcher at the Basque Institute of Criminology and Director of the International Research Centre on Delinquency, Marginality and Social Relationships
Awarded for his distinguished career in the academic field, with a body of research which connects psychology, criminology and juvenile justice. The IJJO also highlights his work as Director of the International Research Centre on Delinquency, Marginality and Social Relationships, and his coordination of development cooperation projects in various countries of Latin America and Africa.
"A recognition such as the one which the International Juvenile Justice Observatory has awarded me, and any award in general, means above all two important things.
First of all, that it is not a prize which belongs to the awardee. In reality, and especially in the case of the ‘Juvenile Justice Without Borders’ award, it belongs to the people who have made it possible for me to be involved in this field, as is especially the case of Doctor Estefanía Ocáriz, with whom I have spent almost 20 years dedicated to the evaluation of the juvenile justice system of the Basque Country.
Secondly, it belongs to all of the young people which I have met throughout my life, in different cooperation projects, in very different parts of the world, from which I have learnt that the main indicator of a country's progress is how they treat, care for and educate young people."
César San Juan Guillén
César San Juan Guillén
César San Juan Guillén has a PhD in Psychology from the University of the Basque Country (1991) and a speciality in Social Psychology from the Catholic University of Louvain (Belgium). Currently, he is a professor of the Department of Social Psychology at the University of the Basque Country, teaching the subjects “Legal Psychology” and “Criminological Psychology”. Since 2006, he has been Director of the International Research Centre on Delinquency, Marginality and Social Relationships, created through an agreement with the International Society of Criminology. He has been president of the Spanish Society of Criminology Research, and between 2007 and 2011 director of the Spanish Journal of Criminology Research. Currently, he manages the International e-Journal of Criminal Sciences.
He has been a visiting professor at the Diego Portales University (Santiago, Chile), the Central American University (Managua, Nicaragua), the Higher University of San Simón (Bolivia), the London School of Economics (London, United Kingdom), the José Simón Cañas University (San Salvador, El Salvador) and the University of Palermo (Buenos Aires, Argentina). As founding president of the NGO Psychologists Without Borders of the Basque Country, he has managed numerous development cooperation projects in in the field of conflict resolution, education for health, and the eradication of child labour in various countries in Latin America and Africa. He is the author of various articles about psychosocial intervention in natural disasters, as well as the editor in this field of the volume “Catástrofes y ayuda de emergencia”. Within the framework of the AGIS programme, funded by the European Commission, he has coordinated a project on psychosocial profiles and intervention proposals with children in conflict with the law with a migrant background.
Also funded by the European Commission within the framework of the DAPHNE programme, he has managed the project "Qualitative and meta-analytic study of specific and primary prevention programs of violence against women”. Since 2003, through a collaboration agreement with the Department of Justice of the Basque Government, he manages the evaluation of its Juvenile Justice Plan, whose results are found among other publications in the volume “Evaluación de la intervención educativa y análisis de la reincidencia en la Justicia de menores en la CAPV” or “100 años de acompañamiento en Justicia Juvenil”. He is currently the main researcher of the Research Group “Applied Criminology and Environmental Psychology” (CRIM-AP) and author of some reference manuals in this field, such as “Psicología Criminal” (ed Síntesis), “Criminología Ambiental” (ed. UOC) or “Guía de Prevención del Delito” (ed Bosch).
Change the Record
Represented by Cheryl Axelby, Co-Chair, and Antoinette Baybrook, Co-Chair
Awarded for its strong advocacy for raising the age of criminal responsibility in Australia to 14, as well as its commitment to investing in prevention, early intervention, and community work to tackle the root causes of criminality and avoid detention of children and recidivism. The IJJO also highlights Change the Record’s focus on those in the most vulnerable situation, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, who are at significantly higher risk of coming into contact with the criminal justice system.
“On behalf of our Coalition members and our First Nations Black Caucus, who lead Change the Record, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank IJJO for the wonderful award and acknowledgement of the work we have been undertaking for the last 2 to 3 years in Australia to raise the age of criminal responsibility for children from 10 to 14 years old, without exceptions.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are significantly overrepresented in the justice system. We have the highest remand rates and also the highest incarceration rates, with some of our First Nations children making up at least 50% of those children in detention. It’s well-evidenced and documented that youth prisons in Australia cause significant harm and impact future opportunities for our young people.
We need to raise the age of criminal responsibility in Australia so we can break the intergenerational cycle of incarceration for our future generations. We hope that we continue to receive your support in helping us to build awareness about raising the age of criminal responsibility in Australia. Thank you very much again for this award and recognition, IJJO.”
Cheryl Axelby, Co-Chair
"As Co-Chair of Change the Record with Aboriginal woman Cheryl Axelby, I am honoured to accept this award on behalf of our First Nations members and other members of our coalition. Thank you to the International Juvenile Justice Observatory and its board for its recognition of Change the Record’s work - tackling systemic issues impacting First Nations kids and the criminalisation and incarceration of our kids. Our kids don’t belong in prison. We must, and we will, keep the pressure on our goverment to #RaisetheAge of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 years old, without exception. Thank you again for the recognition of Change the Record’s critical work."
Antoinette Baybrook, Co-Chair
Change the Record
Change the Record is Australia’s only national First Nations-led justice coalition. We are a coalition of legal, health, human rights and First Nations organisations. Change the Record has two key objectives - to end the mass incarceration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, including young people and children; and stop the disproportionate rates of family violence experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and children.
One of our priority campaigns is Raise The Age. In June 2020, an unprecedented alliance of Aboriginal-led organisations, medical experts, human rights organisations and legal organisations came together to launch a national campaign to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 years old. The campaign was launched by a core team of 9 organisations that formed a Steering Committee. Over 120 organisations have since joined in support.
Currently, in Australia, close to 600 children aged 10-13 years are locked away in prisons each year and many more are hauled through the criminal legal system. The majority of these children (65%) are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander kids. They are separated from their families, community and culture at unacceptably high rates. Imprisoning children this young is likely to leave them with lifelong harm, reduce their chances of employment, increase the risk of homelessness, alcohol and drug-related harm and even premature death. We believe every child should be free to go to school, have a safe home to live in and be supported to learn from their mistakes.
Australia has one of the lowest ages of legal responsibility in the world and is out of step with international standards. The median age of criminal responsibility worldwide is 14 years old. The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has called on Australia to set a minimum age of criminal responsibility no lower than 14 years old. In Finland, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden, among others, children under 14 years old (and in some cases even older) cannot be arrested, charged with a crime or sent to youth detention centres.
In our Raise the Age campaign, we call on the government to prioritise and expand prevention, early intervention, and diversionary responses linked to culturally safe and trauma-responsive services including education, health and community services. We also campaign for First Nations-led planning, design and implementation of prevention, early intervention, and diversionary responses in their communities.
In the past two years, we’ve gathered 126,436 signatures for our national petition to Raise the Age and met with Federal and State MPs to demonstrate the depth and breadth of community support for reform. We raised awareness, changed minds, and collected data to show politicians that public support was strong.
The new federal Labor government has for the first time shifted its position to acknowledge that the current age of criminal responsibility is too low - leaving the door open for reform in the coming Parliamentary terms. Further two states in Australia have made commitments to raise the age of criminal responsibility and we are currently campaigning to ensure they raise it to 14, not 12, with no exceptions.
Co-Chair, Change the Record
Cheryl is a proud Narungga woman who is passionate about improving the quality of life for her people. Cheryl has spent the last 40 years working within the Aboriginal community, Federal Government and South Australian Government to improve the lives of First Nations peoples. She has experience working within the Aboriginal community sector, law and justice, women's issues, family violence, youth justice, and child and family services and is currently working in the Aboriginal Community Housing sector. Cheryl is committed to influencing positive change and outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Cheryl is a cultural change advocate. She has extensive experience developing and delivering cultural competency programs to assist workers in the government and non-government sectors to gain a better understanding of the impact of colonisation on Aboriginal people in South Australia and its impact today through intergenerational trauma. As part of this work, Cheryl led the development of "A Cultural Inclusion Framework for the SA Government" - a set of guides and tools to assist agencies to work towards achieving cultural competency. She developed and delivered training programs for managers/supervisors who manage Aboriginal staff, delivered team-building programs, and provided advice and input to assist with the development of culturally competent programs.
As an advocate for Justice Reinvestment and reconciliation, Cheryl is alarmed by the ever-increasing number of Aboriginal people trapped within the justice and child protection systems. It is obvious that the systems in place are not working. Cheryl has held the positions of CEO of Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement and National Co-chair of National Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander Legal Services.
Cheryl is committed to promoting the self-determination of her people and strongly opposing any forced Interventions - including income management, or any initiative that contravenes the basic Human Rights principles.
Cheryl has a dream where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians are treated with respect and dignity, enjoy a life without racism, enjoy a longer life expectancy, have real jobs, live a life without poverty, have stable and affordable housing, access to quality education and are empowered to make all our own decisions.
Co-Chair, Change the Record
Antoinette Braybrook is an Aboriginal woman who was born in Victoria on Wurundjeri country. Antoinette’s grandfather and mother’s line is through the Kuku Yalanji, North Queensland. Antoinette is the CEO of Djirra (formerly the Aboriginal Family Violence Prevention and Legal Service Victoria – FVPLS Victoria), a position she has held since the service was established in 2002. Djirra is an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation that provides holistic, culturally safe and specialist legal and non-legal support to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who experience family violence – predominantly women.
In addition to Antoinette’s leadership in Victoria, she has held the elected position of National Convenor of the National Family Violence Prevention Legal Services Forum (National FVPLS Forum) since 2012. The National FVPLS Forum is the peak body for the 14 FVPLSs throughout Australia. This year, Antoinette was honoured to be named 2022 Melburnian of the Year, for her work as CEO of Djirra. She was also awarded the 2015 Law Institute of Victoria: Access to Justice/Pro Bono Award, the 2017 Inspirational Women of Yarra Award, and the 2015 Australian Centre for Leadership for Women award for Sustaining Women’s Empowerment. In 2020, Antoinette was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women.
Mr. Douglas Mwangi
Founder and Director of Oasis Mathare
Awarded for being an example of social reintegration and youth entrepreneurship for thousands of young people at risk of exclusion in Kenya, as a community leader and as a promoter of digital technologies for training and employability. The IJJO highlights his work as Founder and Director of Oasis Mathare, a digital community centre aimed at providing access to education and paid work opportunities for young men and women from la comunidad de Mathare (Nairobi).
"On behalf of the entire Mathare slum community, we are extremely excited and humbled to receive the International ‘Juvenile Justice Without Borders’ Award. This award means a lot to us, the small organisation that is Oasis Mathare, where we leverage on technology to eradicate illiteracy and poverty through improving the quality of education and skills training.
In the Mathare slum, the majority of youths don’t finish formal education, and those who finish it don’t end up going to university or colleges. That means that these youths do not have skills that will help them earn a livelihood. At Oasis Mathare, we are helping these youths with skills, they are gaining 21st century ICT skills such as software development. They are able to come up with a practical and technological solution to a problem. Through that they will be able to earn a livelihood, being employed or starting their own startups."
Douglas Mwangi is an award-winning technologist, a social innovator and a professional with over 9 years’ experience working in non- governmental organizations and social entrepreneurship ventures. He is a development strategist for people and projects, planner and communicator with hands-on experience in technology, leadership and management of projects focusing on children, youth and women.
Early last year, he was nominated as a finalist of Top 100 Young Influential Kenyans alongside other household names and ranked as No. 60 out of 100. In 2018, he was the only Kenyan who was awarded The Prestigious Queens Young Leader Award by Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace on 26th June as a result of his efforts in eradicating Poverty and Illiteracy through improving the quality of education and skills training.
National System for the Comprehensive Protection of Children and Adolescents SIPINNA
Represented by María Constanza Tort San Román, Head of the Office of the Executive Secretariat of SIPINNA
Awarded for its work as a guarantor of children´s rights in Mexico, actively working on juvenile justice and other relating issues such as education, participation or equality, and enabling mechanisms which allow children and adolescents to exercise their rights, as well as participate in the decisions that concern them, giving their opinion on what they consider best for them.
"The consolidation of the juvenile justice system that is underway in Mexico must guarantee the rights and dignity of adolescents as individuals and as holders of rights. Strengthening this juvenile justice system must be a daily, progressive and co-responsible task between authorities, public powers, society and civil organizations, putting the best interests of young people at the center.
We want to offer them new and better opportunities from a rights-based perspective, so that each and every one of them can fully achieve their dreams and their wellbeing. We fully understand that behind every young person and adolescent in the criminal justice system there are stories to tell and wounds to heal. For this reason, we are called to provide them with alternatives that keep them away from antisocial behavior, the commission of crimes and the recruitment by criminal groups against their will, among many others.
I thank the International Juvenile Justice Observatory once again for this award, which motivates us to continue promoting a profound transformation that leads us to have the justice system that our youth deserve."
María Constanza Tort San Román, Head of the Office of the Executive Secretariat of the National System for the Comprehensive Protection of Children and Adolescents
The Gault Center
Represented by Mary Ann Scali, JD, MSW, Executive Director
Awarded for its work to improve the quality of juvenile defence in the United States by facilitating the training and specialisation of justice professionals in order to effectively represent children facing criminal proceedings, regardless of their origin, ethnicity or social status. The IJJO also highlights its advocacy work to ensure that all juvenile justice reforms consider and protect children’s rights.
"The Gault Center and our community of youth defenders is humbled to be recognized by the International Juvenile Justice Observatory as a recipient of the 2022 ´Juvenile Justice Without Borders´ International Award. The Gault Center believes well-trained youth defenders can bridge the gap between the promises of the U.S. Constitution and the practices of the legal system. We are especially honored to be among a community of international advocates fighting for the rights of young people around the world and working to promote international standards to guarantee these rights."
Mary Ann Scali, Executive Director
The Gault Center: Defenders of Youth Rights
More than 55 years after the U.S. Supreme Court guaranteed children the constitutional right to counsel, many young people continue to stand in court without lawyers, or with lawyers in name only. The Gault Center: Defenders of Youth Rights believes well-trained youth defenders can bridge the gap between the promises of the U.S. Constitution and the practices of the legal system.
The Gault Center is the only organization dedicated exclusively to supporting, educating, and uplifting youth defenders, in order to ensure justice for all children. The Gault Center advocates for legal systems that are equitable and responsive to the rights and interests of children; and seeks to ensure that reforms of the legal system include the protection of the rights of children, most notably, the right to counsel.
Since 1997, the Gault Center (formerly the National Juvenile Defender Center) has been building a community of youth defenders who dedicate their legal practice to representing children in delinquency court. To maintain and grow the community, the Gault Center organizes and delivers innovative training programs; responds to requests for assistance, providing research, information, and strategies remotely and in-person; and facilitates a network of support between youth defenders in urban, rural, remote, and tribal communities in every state and territory.
The Gault Center innovates to raise the quality of defense of youth nationwide — the baseline of which is laid out in the National Youth Defense Standards. These standards, developed by the Gault Center and the youth defense community, articulate the unique responsibilities and core commitments of attorneys who represent young people, specifying a developmental and racial justice framework for youth defense.
The Gault Center and their partners developed the Youth Defender Advocacy Program (YDAP, formerly known as JTIP: Juvenile Training Immersion Program), a highly specialized, comprehensive trial advocacy training program for youth defense attorneys. The YDAP was developed to alter the landscape of youth defense by providing the foundation for high-quality, meaningful representation of youth. Intended to serve as the gold standard in youth defense training, YDAP is designed to be tailored for use in any jurisdiction. The Gault Center Certifies YDAP Trainers to partner with state and local defender agencies, bar associations, or other organizations to provide youth defense training based on the 42-lesson YDAP curriculum.
To address the pervasive racial disparities in the legal system, the Gault Center, in partnership with the Georgetown Juvenile Justice Clinic & Initiative, hosts the Defend Racial Justice Toolkit, the Ambassadors for Racial Justice program, and an annual Racial Justice Training Series
The Gault Center has worked in every state to document, challenge, and reform policies and practices that disrupt children’s constitutional right to counsel. In partnership with defenders, the Gault Center identifies needs and gaps on the frontlines of court systems and develops strategies to strengthen youth defense and uphold children’s legal protections.
Mary Ann Scali, JD, MSW
Executive Director, The Gault Center
Mary Ann Scali serves as the Executive Director of The Gault Center, where she works with youth defenders and advocates dedicated to promoting justice for all children by ensuring excellence in youth defense. After working as a summer law clerk for the then National Juvenile Defender Center in 1996, Mary Ann became the deputy director in 2000 and the executive director in 2017.
In partnership with The Gault Center team and youth defense leaders, for over two decades Mary Ann has been delivering youth defense training and technical assistance, conducting state-level youth defense assessments, facilitating cross-disciplinary reform efforts, and developing resources and policies to strengthen youth defense, advance adolescent development and racial justice, and increase access to justice for all youth.
Prior to joining The Gault Center, Mary Ann defended youth in the juvenile division of the Office of the Public Defender in Baltimore City, MD; spent two years teaching high school in Pohnpei, Micronesia; served in the Jesuit Refugee Service in Rome, Italy; and taught Baltimore City boys at the Baraka School in Nanyuki, Kenya. Mary Ann holds a JD and MSW from Loyola University Chicago, where she was a CIVITAS Childlaw Fellow.
Mary Ann lives in Baltimore with her husband, their children, and their rescue puppy, Cosmo.
The Howard League for Penal Reform
Represented by Andrea Coomber KC (Hon.), Chief Executive
Awarded for its extensive work against the criminalisation of children in England and Wales and towards reducing arrests of children and improving conditions in detention centres. The IJJO highlights its vast trajectory of making proposals for the improvement of the juvenile justice and child protection systems, which has promoted progress in these systems over the years, engaging policymakers, the media, professionals in the field and wider society.
"This award marks a milestone for the Howard League as it is 20 years since we set up a free and confidential advice line for children and young people in prison. Our thanks to the International Juvenile Justice Observatory for this recognition and for the honour of this award, and our congratulations to all the other award winners. We look forward to staying in touch, sharing best practice and pushing towards more progressive policy for children the world over."
Andrea Coomber, Chief Executive
The Howard League for Penal Reform
The Howard League for Penal Reform is a charity working for less crime, safer communities and fewer people in prison.
Through legal work, research and campaigning, and with the support of its members, the Howard League discovers and promotes solutions that deliver better justice and prevent people becoming victims of crime.
For two decades, the charity's legal team has helped to transform law, policy and practice for children and young adults in the criminal justice system.
The team works to provide solutions for individuals, as well as wider policy changes to prevent the problems reoccurring for other young people.
Children and young adults in prison can contact the Howard League’s free and confidential helpline for advice and support.
Andrea Coomber KC (Hon.)
Executive Director, The Howard League for Penal Reform
Andrea became Chief Executive at the Howard League for Penal Reform in November 2021. She was previously Director of JUSTICE and, before that, Equality Lawyer and then Legal Director at INTERIGHTS, litigating strategic cases before regional human rights courts.
Andrea has also worked at the International Service for Human Rights in Geneva and at the South Asia Documentation Centre in New Delhi.
Andrea is qualified as a barrister and solicitor in Australia. She has a BA/LLB (Hons) from the University of Western Australia and an LLM (Dist.) from the London School of Economics. She sits on the advisory panels of several human rights organisations and is a trustee of BAILII.
Andrea is an Honorary Master of the Bench of Middle Temple and an Affiliate Member of the Centre for Law and Social Justice at the University of Leeds.
Since 2019, she has served as a Lay Member of the House of Lords Conduct Committee. In 2022, she was appointed Queen's Counsel (Honoris Causa) for making a major contribution to the development of the law in England and Wales.