Whether a suspect or a victim of a crime, many Moldovan boys and girls are confronted with a justice system that is primarily focused on solving the case, with little regard for the child’s needs. Children who engage with the justice system face obstacles, from laws that overlook their specific rights and treat them as adults, to a lack of legal aid.
Unfortunately, in the case of children who have committed a crime, detention is still not consistently used as a last resort solution, for the shortest possible duration. Alternatives to detention as well as rehabilitation and reintegration services for the child and her/his family are scarce.
An increasing number of police officers, prosecutors, defense lawyers, and judges are being sensitized to the needs of the child in the justice system. Nonetheless, the authorities need to step up measures to ensure that all legal proceedings are carried out in a child friendly manner, that children at risk are identified and supported before their behavior escalates to delinquency, and that those above the age of criminal responsibility are, to the extent possible, diverted from the criminal justice system towards psychological support, behaviour change, and educational services.