Roundtable “Child-Friendly Justice: Challenges and Needs”, organised by the Ministry of Justice in partnership with UNICEF

25 January 2024
image
Ministerul Justiției

31 October 2023, Chișinău. In order to ensure that the rights of all children are respected, state institutions must join forces and act in a coordinated and continuous manner. This was the conclusion reached by the participants of the roundtable “Child-Friendly Justice: Challenges and Needs” organised by the Ministry of Justice in partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

The event provided a platform for authorities and development partners to discuss the progress made in recent years in the field of juvenile justice, the challenges faced by state authorities and to identify the needs to be addressed.

The topics discussed include:

  • an overview of legislation on child victims and witnesses of crime, and specialized services and programs for child victims and witnesses of crime;
  • restorative justice system and programs for children in conflict with the law and children in detention;
  • specialized programs and services for children in conflict with the law under the minimum age of criminal responsibility;
  • implementation of a cross-sectoral child protection mechanism ensuring effective coordination between institutions.
image
Ministerul Justiției

Minister of Justice Veronica Mihailov-Moraru noted the need for a integrated approach and the importance of coordinating the efforts of all state institutions in this field.

“Nowadays, fewer children are being convicted or imprisoned. However, when children are involved, whether as victims, witnesses or children in conflict with the law, adhering to the principle of the best interests of the child must be a priority for all those involved in the process, from beginning to end. For these reasons, it is important to unite our efforts in an organized and visible manner, to create effective programs and integrated mechanisms of action to avoid re-victimization of children as well as to reduce their recidivism,” the Justice Minister said.

UNICEF Representative in the Republic of Moldova Maha Damaj reiterated UNICEF’s commitment to support the Moldovan authorities in the process of adaptation and establishment of a child-friendly justice system, guaranteeing respect for children’s rights.

“Children go a long way before they end up in the justice system – they have witnessed or been victims of sexual or domestic violence, they have been neglected, they have been abused, they have been deprived of parental care and love. A child who ends up in the justice system is fragile, vulnerable, needs and deserves care,” said Maha Damaj.

image
Ministerul Justiției

The State Secretaries of the Ministry of Justice, Stanislav Copețchi and Nadejda Burciu, for their part, spoke about the evolution of legislation aimed at protecting children, as well as about correctional programs and assistance to minors according to their needs.

The hearing of children in special settings was mentioned as an example of good practice. This mechanism avoids re-victimization of children in vulnerable situations and gives minors the opportunity to interact with qualified professionals.

In that regard, the need to multiply specialized centres for integrated assistance to child victims and witnesses of crime, providing professional psychological, legal, medical and social support, was noted. At the same time, the existing facilities in the courts and prosecutor’s offices for hearing minors in special settings need to be improved and used to the maximum.

However, the biggest problem mentioned by the participants was the lack of qualified personnel to provide services to children at all levels (preventive, social, correctional), in connection with which the need to pay and train more professionals was noted.

They also discussed the need to increase the number of interviewers, experts, psychologists, to develop more services and programs for children in conflict with the law, to ensure their participation in the decision-making and, last but not least, to monitor and evaluate the interventions.

Following the presentations of the Minister of Labour and Social Protection, Alexei Buzu, the State Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Daniella Misail-Nichitin, the People’s Advocate for the rights of the child, Vasile Coroi, and a representative of the Ministry of Education, the need to ensure case management tracking and monitoring of each child as they move from one institution to another was stressed. Only by strengthening institutional cooperation and taking an individual approach to each child we can ensure the correction of deviant behavior and the social reintegration of minors in conflict with the law.

The event was organized in partnership with UNICEF and with the support of the Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) of the Federal Republic of Germany through the German Development Bank (KfW). It was attended by representatives from a number of government agencies: the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Ministry of Education and Research, the Office of the People’s Advocate, the Prosecutor General’s Office, the National Administration of Penitentiaries and the National Probation Inspectorate.

image
Ministerul Justiției
image
Ministerul Justiției

Media contacts

Valeria Dumitriu
Communication Officer
UNICEF Moldova
Tel: +373 68878436

About UNICEF

UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere.

For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook