A New Interviewing Guide for a Child-friendly Justice

12 March 2024
Press conference of the launch of the interviewing guide
Alternative Sociale

Bucharest, 12 March 2024. ”Alternative Sociale” Association and UNICEF in Romania launched today, 12 March 2024, in Bucharest, the "Guide to interviewing children in judicial proceedings", made for professionals working in the judicial field (judges, prosecutors, police officers) or social services (social workers and psychologists).

The event discussed concrete issues related to the implementation of child-friendly justice, starting from the main contexts in which children are part: as a victim, witness or perpetrator or as a party/interested party in criminal or civil proceedings.

The discussions were moderated by the coordinators and authors of the guide, experts in the fields of law and psychology (Prof. Mona-Maria Pivniceru, Psych. Cătălin Luca, judges Vlad Chifu, Sofia Luca and Daniel Mireuță), who described the relevant national and international legal framework and proposed approaches and working tools focused on achieving the objectives of professionals with respect for children's rights and a reduced negative impact of the proceedings on them.

"Court proceedings have a considerable impact on children, and where the national legal system lacks child-friendly procedures and practices, children face particular obstacles in trying to exercise their rights. It is therefore important that justice always takes into account the best interests of the child, regardless of their identity and the acts committed, and that the judicial and non-judicial system is adapted to the specific rights, needs and interests of the child", said Prof. Mona-Maria Pivniceru, Coordinator of the Guide.

"Although children are often involved in court proceedings, we cannot say that justice is always adapted to their situation. The presence of intimidating frameworks, the lack of information and explanations adapted to the age of the child, the insufficient approach to the concept of family, excessively long or, on the contrary, too expeditious procedures, as well as the lack of standards regarding their hearing can lead to the violation of guarantees regarding the rights of the child, as well as to their (re)traumatisation", said Psyh. Cătălin Luca, PhD, President of ”Alternative Sociale” Association

Justice is child-friendly when it is accessible, age-appropriate, swift, expeditious, adapted on the child’s needs and child-focused, respecting the rights of the child, including the right to a fair trial, the right to participate in and understand proceedings, the right to privacy and family life, and the right to integrity and dignity.

"Children involved in legal proceedings - regardless of the capacity in which they are involved - are in a position of vulnerability where they need protection from state institutions and professionals in the judicial and child protection system. The guide launched today is an essential and necessary tool for the respect of children's rights and their psycho-emotional well-being, developed by leading professionals in a partnership that UNICEF is happy to support", said Gabriel Vockel, UNICEF Deputy Representative in Romania.

The "Guide to Interviewing Children in Criminal and Civil Court Proceedings" was developed by “Alternative Sociale” within the project "Strengthening the Response and Preparedness of Child Protection Systems to Support Refugees in Ukraine", supported by UNICEF in Romania. In addition to producing the Guide the project also included:

- training of 334 specialists from social services in the field of prevention, identification, assistance and protection of victims of gender-based violence and violence against children, including 214 specialists from the single number for children 119 from 39 DGASPC in the country

- training of 147 specialists from social services and pre-university education to develop anger management skills in (pre)adolescents;

- training of 100 specialists from social services, magistrates and police officers in the field of hearing children in court proceedings;

- Mapping the social services available for child and family protection in Brasov, Constanta, Maramures, Suceava and Tulcea counties

- carrying out a study on the challenges to provider accreditation and licensing of social services.

- more than 2,400 vulnerable children and adults benefit from the support of specialists trained under the project.

Media contacts

Cătălin Pruteanu
Media Officer
UNICEF Romania
Tel: +40 726 107 799


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