Justice for Children

Supporting the Government in Reforming the Juvenile Justice System

Diverted Juvenile with Social Worker
UNICEF/Geo-2016/Gurgenidze

The Challenge

In partnership with the European Union, we have supported the Government of Georgia in reforming the Juvenile Justice system and to make it accessible and tailored to children’s needs. Significant progress was made in reducing the number of children held in detention, including through the establishment of successful diversion and mediation programmes. During the last years the focus has been on the development of institutional and human resource capacity to handle children’s criminal cases. A comprehensive effort to amend relevant civil and administrative legislation has yet to be undertaken. There is a need to institutionalize a child-friendly approach throughout the entire justice system in order to guarantee that all children have access to prompt and age appropriate justice proceedings.

Crime prevention mechanisms also need to be strengthened in terms of coordination, which is currently very weak among the agencies.

There is no effective system of identification at hand; programmes, which are essential for children who need support, are very poor and/or in some cases may not actually exist. These programmes should be developed and further strengthened, and the social well-being and protection 

Diversion
UNICEF/Geo-2018/Blagonravova

The Solution

As part of the Government’s reforms and supported by the European Union, we work to improve access to justice for all children and to develop a Child-friendly Justice System in Georgia. We work to address legal gaps to ensure that Georgia is in full compliance with international standards on children’s rights and support the Government in implementation of the Juvenile Justice Code. 

We supported the development of diversion and mediation programme as alternative measures to criminal prosecution. This way the child does not have a criminal record or a related stigma and other accompanying negative consequences. The diversion and mediation programmes work in all parts of Georgia and allow the state not to use criminal prosecution mechanisms against juvenile offenders, while not ignoring the offending cases or victims’ interests.

We support the Government to ensure all specialists working in the juvenile justice system, including police officers, prosecutors, judges, lawyers, social workers, mediators and others, are trained and become authorized to work with children.

Every relevant government agency now has a plan to create groups of specialists that will work exclusively or mainly on cases involving children and to establish quality assurance and child rights monitoring mechanisms. We also support the development of a unified database to collect information related to children in the justice system. This will make it possible to develop policies and programmes based on hard evidence. 

We also work to create a child-friendly environment in juvenile justice proceedings. Child-friendly spaces established in justice institutions ensure children’s privacy and help to prevent their re-victimization.  We work to inform children about their rights and about the existing mechanisms of the justice system.