Perspectives and experiences of professionals on children’s participation in civil and criminal judicial proceedings in 10 EU Member States
Each year thousands of children take part in criminal and civil judicial proceedings, affected by parental divorce or as victims or witnesses to crime. Such proceedings can be stressful for anyone. The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) investigated whether children’s rights are respected in these proceedings. FRA’s fieldwork findings, based on interviews with professionals and children, show that there is a long way to go to make justice more child-friendly across the European Union (EU). Although all EU Member States have committed themselves to ensuring that children’s best... interests are the primary consideration in any action that affects them, their rights to be heard, to be informed, to be protected and to non-discrimination are not always fulfilled in practice. That is why the EU is promoting the Council of Europe’s 2010 Guidelines on child-friendly justice. It aims to help its Member States improve the protection of children in their judicial systems and enhance their meaningful participation, thereby improving the workings of justice.