Protecting children’s rights in criminal justice systems: a training manual and reference point for professionals and policymakers


Children in conflict or contact with criminal justice or welfare agencies either as children in need of protection, children at risk, on arrest, during trial, in detention or as victims and witnesses, are often in a vulnerable position, unaware of their rights or unable to enforce them. How these children are treated by the system is a critical factor in determining how they will be reintegrated into their families, schools and communities.

Protecting children’s rights in criminal justice systems is designed to strengthen the capacity of those involved in working with children involved in the justice process and will be relevant for a wide range of professionals and policymakers.

Based on international and regional standards, it provides a practical approach to addressing issues that arise for children in criminal justice systems, illustrated by examples from other countries and including challenging and thought-provoking questions and case studies at the end of each topic.

The Manual has ten chapters and a training module, and is set out as follows:

  • Chapter 1: Principles of justice for children
  • Chapter 2: Children at risk
  • Chapter 3: Arrest
  • Chapter 4: Diversion
  • Chapter 5: Victims and witnesses
  • Chapter 6: Trial and sentencing
  • Chapter 7: Detention
  • Chapter 8: Independent monitoring mechanisms
  • Chapter 9: Reintegration
  • Chapter 10: Putting justice for children into practice
  • Training Module.

The final training module is intended for those professionals and stakeholders who have a training component to their jobs and is intended to help them effectively teach the principles outlined in the Manual using experience-based training methodology.

The Manual is based around the approach outlined in the 10 Point Plan for Fair and Effective Criminal Justice for Children, co-authored by PRI and the Interagency Panel on Juvenile Justice (IPJJ) in 2012.

Russian and Arabic translations of the Manual will also be made available.

(For PRI’s previous Juvenile Justice Manual, developed with UNICEF, and published in 2007, please contact [email protected])



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