UNICEF is a leading advocate for juvenile justice reform, but our approach in Viet Nam goes beyond care for children accused of crimes: we also promote equitable access to justice for all children whose rights have been violated.
Like most countries in the world, Viet Nam’s justice system is designed for adults and is not equipped to meet the unique needs of children. As a result, thousands of Vietnamese children face major obstacles to access justice. They include approximately 11,000 juvenile alleged offenders and 2,000 child victims of violence, as well as an unknown number of children involved in the more than 60,000 family law cases every year.
Critical bottlenecks include weak coordination and strategic planning, limited child justice capacity, ineffective community-based diversion and alternatives to detention, lack of public awareness and reliable data collection.
Thousands of Vietnamese children face major obstacles to access justice
Against this backdrop, UNICEF is working with government and civil society partners to make the justice system more child and gender sensitive to ensure all children in contact with it are better served and protected. Through advocacy and technical support for law reforms, we promote community-based solutions with an emphasis on repairing harm caused by criminal behaviour and reducing detention of children to a measure of last resort. These objectives are supported by demonstrating best practices in children’s courts and advocacy to establish child protection units within the police and procuracy.
Training of different members within the justice arena to effectively protect children in contact with the justice system is also a priority, while development of a child and gender-sensitive legal aid model is designed to increase children’s access to legal advice, representation and protection during legal proceedings. UNICEF is also working with government and non-government actors, particularly the media, to raise public awareness on child justice, empower children and their families to seek legal advice, assistance and representation.
We promote community-based solutions