Children and young people started developing solutions for improved access to justice

Children and young people explore innovative ways to make meaningful change in the life of children and young people in contact with the law

UNICEF
Group of adolescents on a stage presenting their project at a design thinking workshop J4C UNICEF MK
Youth Educational Forum
21 February 2022

Krusevo, 11 February 2022:  As part of UNICEF and European Union initiative “Youth Advocates for Justice for Children”, some sixty children and young people using a human centered design process started developing solutions to improve the access to justice for children in contact with the law.

The initiative includes children and young people coming from different social and economic background and from across the country. It also includes children and young people from the educational correctional institution and the small group homes, thus creating an opportunity for them, guided by their own experiences with the justice system, to be part of the solutions and make their voice heard.

Earlier last year the same group of children and young people met for the first time with their five mentors – experts in child justice and child rights – and launched the initiative with the kickoff workshop focusing on the basic principles of child rights.

For many of them discussing the whole concept of justice for children was a new experience and learning process.  The three days spent together at a design thinking workshop deepened their understanding of the challenges children face when they get in contact with the judicial system and the effects this experience may have on their lives regardless if they are perpetrators, witnesses or victims of crime or they are vulnerable children at risk of getting in contact with the law.

Children identified two main areas which when improved can mitigate these effects: access to information on child rights, such as the information on the existence of free legal aid services or the right to education; and prevention of all forms of violence to decrease the chances children get in contact with the law in the first place. In this context, they expended discussion on how to create innovative preventive mechanisms and explored the idea of violence prevention in schools through peer mediation and use of art as a tool for healing trauma.

Group photo J4C Design Thinking Workshop UNICEF MK
Youth Educational Forum
Group photo of the enthusiastic team working on solutions for improved access to justice for children.

In the next three month the Youth Advocates for Justice for Children will further develop the solutions and get ready to present their ideas for direct support, advocacy or potential scale-up to a forum of government representatives, academia, civic sector and other partners.

The initiative is implemented with Youth Educational Forum and is part of a two-year programme “Just(ice) children – EU for juvenile and child-friendly justice” funded by the delegation of European Union and co-funded by UNICEF supporting the Government reform efforts to ensure the justice system protects the rights of children who come in contact with the law.