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First local council for prevention of juvenile delinquency established

Skopje, 28 September 2011: Today the Kavadarci Municipality Council formally approved the functioning of a local council for prevention of juvenile delinquency. This is the first of eleven local councils that will be launched with support from the EU and UNICEF, to help prevent juvenile delinquency at the local level.
“Effective juvenile delinquency  prevention programmes need to be at the core of juvenile justice reform.” said Mr. Sheldon Yett, Representative, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). “One of the fundamental reasons for setting up a distinct juvenile justice system is that, before the age of adulthood, emphasis needs to be placed squarely on assisting a young person to avoid behavior that will bring him or her into conflict with the law.  Prevention programmes are essential in ensuring those at risk receive the support that they have a right to have,” continued Yett.
Prevention and rehabilitation of children in contact with the law and at risk of becoming in contact with the law are the basic objectives of the juvenile justice reform in the country. However, with over 80 per cent of convicted children later accused of new offenses, the prevention programmes have so far had limited success.

The State Council for Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency was recently established to coordinate the national response to juvenile delinquency but local councils are expected to play key role in strengthening the protective and preventive environment at the local level. Local councils will be responsible for monitoring and responding to needs in their respective local municipalities; developing programmes for local community involvement in prevention activities, and coordinating work with the  State Council for Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency.

The members of the local councils include representatives from the regional units of the Ministry of Interior;  local representatives of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy;  social workers from the Centers for Social Work; delegates from parental councils in primary and secondary schools; representatives from civic associations, representatives from the legal community as well as other community members..

“The establishment and the full efficiency of the local councils for prevention of juvenile delinquency is vital to a functional juvenile justice system that will take our country closer to the standards of the European Union,” said Ms. Ana Andova, representative of the State Council of Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency, following the Kavadarci Municipal Council’s formal approval of the local body.

Following the establishment of the first local council, UNICEF in partnership with the NGO “Council for Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency”, will support ten pilot municipalities (Karpos, Suto Orizari, Tetovo, Kumanovo, Bitola, Prilep, Kavadarci, Ohrid, Gostivar, Veles) to join the initiative.
 
The local councils for prevention of juvenile delinquency programme is being implemented as part of the EU-funded and UNICEF implemented and co-funded “Justice for Children” Project.  With support from the EU and UNICEF, the project is helping the Government reform the system to bring it in line with EU and international standards.  Focusing on three pillars - improving the normative framework, capacity building, and prevention – the project will contribute to closing the gap between what is written in law and reality.

For further information, please contact:
Suzie Pappas Capovska, Communications Officer, UNICEF Skopje (02) 3231-150 (ext :127),  072  236 725 or spappas@unicef.org or Irina Ivanovska (02) 3231-150 (ext :107),  072  236 722 or iivanovska@unicef.org


 

 

 
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