Innovations, lessons learned and good practices

Thailand 'The Family and Community Group Conferencing: An alternative approach to children in conflict with the law' (Good practice)

Year: 2009
Major Area: Child Protection from Violence, Exploitation and Abuse
Language: English

Abstract:
The number of children in conflict with the law in Thailand was between 31,000 and 39,000 cases annually during 1998-2002 and sharply climbed up to 51,128 cases in 2007. The main cause for these cases included drug related offences, stealing or damaging assets or properties, and physical assaults or murder. Under the leadership of the Ministry of Justice, the Family and Community Group Conferencing (FCGC) was formally introduced to Thailand in mid-2003 with UNICEF’s support in a recognition that the number of cases of children in conflict with the law was on the increase. The goal of FCGC is to divert children involved in low-level offenses away from the formal judicial system and to restore social harmony between the victim, child offender and the community. It also serves to reduce the number of children in post-sentence confinement.

Since 2003, on an annual average, more than 10 percent of juvenile cases country-wide are diverted from the formal justice system through FCGC every year. FCGC has become an accepted and standard practice nationally that influences opinion as to appropriate treatment of children in the justice system. The Ministry of Justice is currently looking into specific legal provisions particularly in the Juvenile and Family Court Act, which will further ensure the sustainability of FCGC implementation.

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