FRA's report contains different points of view and examples on children’s participation in civil and criminal judicial proceedings in 10 EU Member State.
The key findings of the report relate to specific child rights, for example:
- Right to be heard: Greater efforts are needed to ensure that children are heard in safe and child-friendly rooms, using techniques appropriate for a child’s age and maturity.
- Right to information: Regular, child-friendly information and material about child rights and judicial procedures, tailored to the child’s age, throughout the proceedings, can improve their trust in justice.
- Right to privacy and right to protection from harm and re-traumatisation: Separate rooms to prevent contact with defendants and the use of video recordings and video links by trained professionals in courtrooms and police stations should become standard practice in the EU to protect children adequately.
- Access to justice: There is a need to ensure that children’s access to justice and their treatment in judicial proceedings is effectively monitored to prevent any discrimination. Access to legal aid and support for children in vulnerable situations should be facilitated.
This report is part of FRA’s broader work on the protection of the rights of the child, which is a core thematic area and ongoing concern. This brief is set out Child-friendly justice — Perspectives and experiences of professionals in FRA’s Multiannual Framework and reflected in its development of child-rights indicators and collection of data on children in situations of particular vulnerability (trafficked children and separated, asylum-seeking children, as well as women’s experience of violence during their childhood).
How to read this report
The chapters of this report each refer to one of the rights examined, namely the right to be heard, the right to information, the right to protection and privacy, the right to non-discrimination and the principle of best interests of the child. The chapters’ sub-sections reflect the categories of the indicator model ‘structural-process-outcome’ and the international and European standards and guidelines they relate to, such as the CRC and the Council of Europe Guidelines on child-
friendly justice, as well as guidance provided by other actors, such as the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). Where indicators are populated using results from qualitative research they should be read as indicative of a situation.
• Structural indicators refer to national legal provisions and policies; they are populated through an analysis of European Commission data on legislation and policies in the EU Member States as of 1 June 2012.
• Process indicators refer to measures taken to implement legal and policy provisions; they are populated with evidence provided through the interviews with professionals about their perspectives and experiences on children’s participation as victims, witnesses or parties in civil and criminal judicial proceedings.
• Outcome indicators refer to the actual improvement of the situation of rights holders (here children); they are partly populated with evidence provided through the interviews with professionals and will be further populated through interviews with children after the second part of the research has been completed.
Two further chapters assess two issues identified by the Council of Europe Guidelines as important elements for making judicial proceedings child-friendly: training and multidisciplinary cooperation of professionals Relevant promising practices that the research identified are included throughout the report.