Linking Information for Adaptive and Accessible Child-Friendly Courts (LINK)

Background

Child victims with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities face particular barriers to active and effective participation in the criminal justice process. These include physical barriers to court buildings, communication barriers,  lack of access to protection measures, legal aid and legal representation. This is due to gaps and barriers in legislation, lack of skills of criminal justice professionals and inaccessible architecture.

Project Description

The project aims to improve the accessibility and integration of child protection systems in criminal proceedings for children, particularly children with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities. This includes ensuring disability-, age- and gender-appropriate decision-making to protect, support and accommodate child victims.

Children playing

The project sets out two main objectives:

  • Build the capacity of criminal justice professionals to guarantee non-discrimination of child victims with intellectual and/or psychosocial disabilities
  • Optimise or develop integration of child protection systems in criminal proceedings

To achieve these objectives, a combination of the following activities will be implemented:

  1. Mapping of information needs and recommendations of children with disabilities, using participatory and action-research methods. This includes, in-depth analysis of information, support and protection processes involving child victims of crime throughout the criminal justice system, identifying accessibility, cooperation and efficiency requirements;
  2. Development of a blueprint or proof of concept for a childfriendly accessible technological system, building upon the existing filing and case management system to enable the participation of child victims with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities and AAC users to participate in criminal proceedings;
  3. Capacity-building activities to train criminal justice professionals and relevant stakeholders on age-appropriate, gender-appropriate accommodations for child victims with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities, including AAC user; and
  4. Organisation of national children’s advisory boards, national roundtables and international conferences for the dissemination of project results and broader involvement of civil society, criminal justice professionals and children with disabilities.

Length of the project: two years (1 June 2023 – 31 May 2025)

Countries of implementation: Bulgaria, Czechia, Lithuania, Portugal, Slovenia, Italy

Legal Background

The project’s objectives and activities are grounded in the international and EU standards on access to justice, disability rights and children’s rights. More information about the framework can be accessed here:

 

Donor

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This project is co-funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the European Commission. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.  

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