The Child Rights Centre has published an information booklet entitled “Child-friendly Justice” to inform children and youth about their rights if they come into contact with the justice system as victims, witnesses or perpetrators of crime. The child can come into contact with the law in different ways, for example in cases of domestic violence, protection of the child from abuse and neglect, deprivation of parental rights, determining custody of the child, maintenance, divorce, adoption, guardianship, as well as in cases where the child commits a criminal offence.
The reason for drafting the information booklet were the findings of the research “Child-friendly Justice – The Perspectives of Children and Youth”, conducted by the Child Rights Centre in 2020, which reveal that children and youth in the general population are generally not informed about their rights in case they come into contact with the justice system. In fact, 44% of children and youth are not informed at all about their rights if they come into contact with the justice system or are partly informed (28%). Only 3% of respondents believe that children and youth are fully informed about their rights in case they come into contact with the justice system as a victim, witness or perpetrator of crime.
The children and youth from the Child Rights Centre’s DX Club and a number of pupils from the seven secondary schools in Niš, Novi Sad, Dimitrovgrad and Bajina Bašta were consulted in the process of booklet preparation. Since May 2020, the DX Club members have been empowered through educational workshops on child-friendly justice to inform peers about their rights and advocate for the establishment of child-friendly justice. In order to point out the importance of informing children and youth about their rights in case they come into contact with the justice system, the Child Rights Centre published a video “Justice from the Perspective of Children and Youth“ with the participation of DX Club members.
The Child Rights Centre prepared the information booklet as part of the project“Children’s Rights in Serbia – Improving the Position of Children in the Judicial System of the Republic of Serbia – CRIS”, implemented in cooperation with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and ASTRA – Anti-Trafficking Action, with the financial support of the European Union through the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme.
The booklet is available at the link.