Children in conflict with the law
in the Republic of Moldova
Moldova’s justice sector has undergone significant reform over the last two decades. The country has made important progress in its transition from a soviet style criminal justice system based heavily on punitive measures, monitoring and institutionalisation, to an approach focussed on reintegration and rehabilitation, and respect for human rights, due process and the rule of law. This transition has included reform of laws, systems and institutions, as well as capacity building of officials and practitioners working in the justice sector. It has also included comprehensive efforts to establish a juvenile justice system that is in-line with international standards; in 2002 the Moldovan Government in collaboration with UNICEF undertook a comprehensive “Reform of the Juvenile Justice System” programme, which has involved significant changes to Moldovan law, policy and practice regarding children in conflict and contact with the law.
Despite the considerable progress that has been made in this area, substantial gaps remain. In particular these gaps relate to a lack of services and programmes that prevent offending. Prevention services encompass a broad range of interventions, and may include: services which aim to prevent children from engaging in offending behaviour in the first place by addressing factors which lead to offending; services for children who are exhibiting offending behaviour, but are under the age of criminal responsibility; services for children who have committed an offence; and, services to promote the reintegration of the child into his or her community, whether he or she was ultimately released, diverted or sentenced to a correctional facility. Prevention services relate closely to the broader social infrastructure and support mechanisms that are available to vulnerable children and their families.