In Central and South East Europe
English

Services for the child who committed criminal offenses under the age of criminal liability: successes in the advocacy work

2017-12-21

On 13-14 December 2017, Terre des hommes Moldova Foundation organized a study visit to Iasi county, Romania, in order to learn from the good practices existent in this region in the field of re-socialization of children with delinquent behavior. Equally, it was an occasion to establish and develop cooperation relations with the Romanian institutions.

During the visit, the Moldovan delegation, comprised of 10 representatives of the child protection system, held meetings with the leadership and department managers of the General Directorate for Social Assistance and Child Protection of Iasi county, as well as conducted field visits to the relevant services functional in Iasi municipality and Târgu Frumos city: The specialized center "Sf. Spiridon" for the child with behavioral disorders and the one who committed criminal offenses under the age of criminal liability; The Lizuca residential center for behavioral rehabilitation of girls; The emergency social services center; The specialized day care center for re-socializing the child with delinquent behavior within the “Veniamin Costache” social services center in Iasi, as well as visiting some relevant NGOs of the county.

The study-visit is part of Terre des hommes Moldova's advocacy efforts to solve one of the current country’s pressing problems: the lack of legislation regulating the status of the child under the age of criminal liability that committed criminal offenses and, consequently, the lack of services relevant to these children. At present in Moldova, motivating the lack of regulation, no work is done with children who have committed criminal offenses under the age of criminal liability and no social service has been created for the education of these children. Unlike the situation in Moldova, the Romanian legislation contains procedures and protection measures that apply to these children, as well as specialized services for the child who has committed a criminal offense and is not criminally liable. In some Romanian counties, as is the Iasi County, in which the study-visit was undertaken, specialized services for this category of children were established and are successfully operated.

As a result of the advocacy efforts of Terre des hommes Moldova, which elaborated a regulatory concept and a proposal of legislative amendments on the status of the child under the age of criminal liability that committed criminal offenses, the Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Moldova came with a legislative initiative in November 2017, consisting from a special draft-law that addresses the issue through a series of complex solutions. The draft-law is placed on the website of the Ministry of Justice under the heading - Transparency in the Decision-Making Process - Draft Normative Acts Issued to Co-ordination (No 447), any interested institution being entitled to intervene with comments and suggestions for improvement.

The social services system proposed in the draft-law to remedy the behavior of children who have committed criminal offenses under the age of criminal liability is similar to that contained in the Romanian legislation and, in this context, the study visit in the Iasi county was particularly useful in order to identifies the strengths, but also the possible challenges and gaps existing in the Romanian system. The results of the visit will contribute to the further improvement of the draft-law and its promotion.

The advocacy activity is carried out by Terre des hommes Moldova within the regional initiative "The Child Protection Hub in South-Eastern Europe", which aims to promote and continuously improve the child protection practices and policies in South-Eastern Europe through a participatory approach.