in Europe

Children in Contact with the Law in Europe: Trends and Opportunities

Mariama Diallo, C├ędric Foussard, Ana Sofia Perez, Deniece Carrington | Terre des hommes | 88 pages
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New report finds 33% of European countries can prosecute children above the age of criminal responsibility for offences committed while under the age of criminal responsibility.

A new report, developed by Terre des hommes in close partnership with the global law firm DLA Piper, has found that there are still 33% of countries in Europe where children above the minimum age of criminal responsibility can be prosecuted for offences committed while below the minimum age. The report also revealed that individual needs assessments of children involved in criminal proceedings are currently not systematically conducted.

With an estimated one million children facing criminal justice proceedings in the European Union each year (according to the European Commission), Terre des hommes in Europe believes that these children need to be provided with the necessary procedural safeguards and that their rights must be well understood and respected by the professionals working with them. As these children represent 12% of the estimated 9 million people facing criminal proceedings in the EU, it is clear there is a significant need for a framework to protect minors in contact with the law.

As such, Terre des hommes is pleased to publish this report and its attached country fact sheets, which presents key trends and gaps that children in contact with the law currently face in Europe, looking at issues ranging from minimum ages, to child-specific legislation, procedural safeguards and status offences. The eighteen factsheets provide a snapshot of the situation country by country.

The report contains a set of recommendations with the aim to:

  1. Build stronger skills for professionals working with children in criminal proceedings
  2. Create child-centred policies and legislative frameworks
  3. Invest in robust monitoring of the situation of children in criminal proceedings
  4. Improve the knowledge of professionals about the needs of children in criminal proceedings

Please join us for a discussion with European regional and national experts to analyze the report results during a ChildHub webinar that will take place early October. Stay tuned for details!

The synthesis report and each country factsheet can be downloaded on ChildHub.

For more information, please contact Mariama Diallo, Regional Programme Manager, Access to Justice: