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The Children

•  Children in conflict with the law


•  How can we keep children out of adult jails?

  •  The Juvenile Justice Law

•  Real Lives: From law breakers to law enforcers

  •  Real Lives: A second chance for young offenders
  •  Support UNICEF: Help us save more lives of children.
  •  News: UNICEF ambassador Gary Valenciano goes to "jail"
  •  News: Philippines enacts law on juvenile justice

Jail is no place for a child.

© UNICEF Philippines/2003/Dela Cruz

Keep children
out of adult jails.
Urge our lawmakers
to make the Juvenile Justice Law work.
Send an e-mail to the
Juvenile Justice Network-Philippines.


  • Over 50,000 children in the Philippines have been
    arrested and detained since 1995.

  • Roughly 28 children get arrested every day,
    or more than one child for every hour.

  • 8 out of 10 children in conflict with the law will commit
    only one offense in their lifetime.
    They are called "first-time offenders."

  • A "first-time offender" who is kept out of adult jails
    is 8 times more likely to change and become productive
    than a detained juvenile offender.

Children in the Philippines can be arrested and detained like adults from the age of nine years old.

The Council for the Welfare of Children reported that from 1995 to 2000, 52,756 children have been in conflict with the law. Many of these cases involved the detention of minors, often in the same cells as adult offenders. Since 2003, over 26,000 children have been provided legal assistance by the Public Attorney's Office.

More than half of the crimes for which minors are charged are not serious offenses. These include petty theft, sniffing of glue or solvents, vagrancy and violation of curfew hours. Many cases involving children are not reviewed immediately. Most are eventually dismissed by the courts due to out of court settlements or the failure of witnesses to appear during the trial. Many children experience detention in sub-standard conditions for long periods of time before their cases are finally resolved.

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child expressed its concern about the Philippine government administers juvenile justice and the incompatibility of the existing justice system with the principles and provisions of the Convention and other international standards relating to juvenile justice. The Committee recommended a comprehensive reform of the system of administration of juvenile justice in the Philippines.

Keep children out of adult jails.
Help us urge our lawmakers to pass a Comprehensive Juvenile Justice System.

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