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4.7 Children as victims and witnesses

Course video 31 of 58

The field of Juvenile Justice (JJ) or of systems of Justice specialized for children in conflict with the law, is the field of children’s rights where the international community has drafted the largest amount of legislation (national, regional and international). It is obviously a very sensitive field where child rights violations are numerous, where violence in institutions must be deplored, and where the response is not always child-friendly, and does not systematically favor individual child development. It is moreover a domain where the State exerts its power in response to child offenses, very often through the deprivation of liberty ; and where the State’s interference also represses non-criminal behavior (running away, breaking disciplinary rules, breaking curfews, …), all of these actions would not be legally reprehensible if committed by an adult (status offence). And, alas this field of JJ sometimes accounts for violations of children’s rights at the hands of States themselves: in the arrest phase, in administrative detention, in the execution of judiciary sentences, but also in institutional care. The issue of JJ also includes children victims and witnesses.

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