Juvenile Justice

The successful development of juvenile justice will directly affect the future of adolescents caught in the criminal justice orbit

UNICEF/2014/Giacomo Pirozzi


Over the past ten years Kazakhstan has initiated a series of reforms in the field of juvenile justice aimed at providing services, protecting children and bringing national practices in line with international standards. Positive reforms contributed to the adoption of a new legal framework, restricting pre-trial detention of minors, replacing criminal responsibility with alternative correctional treatment, providing support and assistance to child victims and witnesses of crime.

  • Children in conflict with the law

Statistics indicate a decrease in the registered crimes committed by children: in 2009 - 6,651, in 2017 - 3,148[1]. The proportion of girls among juvenile delinquents was 7.0%. Re-offending children accounted for 12.7%[2].

Over the years, convictions for children has decreased from 2,654 in 2009 to 443 in 2017[3]. The number of children in pre-trial custody has also decreased, from 475 in 2009 to 166 in 2017. In addition, the number of children in detention also decreased, from 427 at the end of 2009 to 49 in 2017.

  • Child victims and witnesses of crime

The data indicate a significant increase and then a reduction in child victims over the past few years. In 2017, 2014 crimes were committed against minors, while in 2014 - 7,882 crimes.


[1] Source: data of 2009. TransMonEE (a website developed by UNICEF for monitoring the situation of children and women in Europe and Central Asia: http://www.transmonee.org/); data of 2017: Prosecutor General's Office

[2] Source: Prosecutor General's Office

[3] Source: data of 2009: TransMonEE, data of 2017: Prosecutor General's Office




UNICEF supports further development of alternative justice, probation and social rehabilitation of minors in conflict with the law, crime victims and witnesses. There is an active cooperation with the law enforcement and judicial authorities in terms of specialization and staff training.

In 2014-2018, a joint program of the European Union and UNICEF “Strengthening justice for children and protecting their rights” was implemented.

Standards are being developed for investigations involving children considering the need to ensure the best interests of children and their friendly treatment. Child-friendly police, trial and probation offices have been established on a pilot basis. A population survey also revealed the need for changes in society’s discriminatory attitudes towards children in conflict with the law and crime victims.

Additional measures are needed to strengthen legislation in the field of justice for children and ensure full compliance with the rights of the child, develop alternative services, and strengthen the capacity of juvenile justice professionals through familiarizing the national system with international norms and standards.


The study “Knowledge, attitudes and practices in the field of justice for children” collected data on knowledge, prevailing social norms and existing practices related to children in conflict with the law, crime victims and witnesses.

Brief analytical report "Justice for Children in Kazakhstan: knowledge, attitude and practice" (in Russian)

Together with the Supreme Court of the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Government of the Republic of Kazakhstan and international experts, conducted a study to document the development of a specialized inter-district juvenile court (SIJC), to determine to what extent the existing practice complies with international standards, and to develop recommendations for further strengthening SIJC.

Development of specialized inter-district juvenile courts in the Republic of Kazakhstan