FRA: Justice needs to be more child-friendly

Child-friendly justice – Perspectives and experiences of professionals on children’s participation in civil and criminal judicial proceedings in 10 EU Member States

Hundreds of thousands of children across the EU are involved in legal proceedings every year. According to European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) latest report "Child-friendly justice – Perspectives and experiences of professionals", justice systems need to do more to satisfy to the specific needs of these children. Making justice more child-friendly is in the best interests of the child, improves child protection and their meaningful participation in judicial proceedings.

FRA's report, which was released at a live radio debate in the European Parliament on 5 May, contains different points of view and examples on children’s participation in civil and criminal judicial proceedings in 10 EU Member State.

The key findings of the report relate to specific child rights, for example:

  • Right to be heard: Greater efforts are needed to ensure that children are heard in safe and child-friendly rooms, using techniques appropriate for a child’s age and maturity.
  • Right to information: Regular, child-friendly information and material about child rights and judicial procedures, tailored to the child’s age, throughout the proceedings, can improve their trust in justice.
  • Right to privacy and right to protection from harm and re-traumatisation: Separate rooms to prevent contact with defendants and the use of video recordings and video links by trained professionals in courtrooms and police stations should become standard practice in the EU to protect children adequately.
  • Access to justice: There is a need to ensure that children’s access to justice and their treatment in judicial proceedings is effectively monitored to prevent any discrimination. Access to legal aid and support for children in vulnerable situations should be facilitated.

Download FRA's report in this link.