Justice needs child-friendly language, says the President
Justice should come in a childfriendly language to improve better access for children. This was one of several recommendations that emerged from the second National Conference on Child Wellbeing and access to justice organised by the President’s Foundation For The Wellbeing Of Society.
The recommendations were elaborated upon by President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca.
"Without meaningful access to justice, children’s rights only exist on paper. They will remain absent in practice, and beyond the reach of the children who need them the most," she said
"Children are very capable of speaking for themselves. We need to make it safe for them to speak," the President added, citing the Children’s House model as good practice which must be enshrined in law.
She pointed out that some children had increased exposure to risk, particularly those suffering from loneliness or deprived of liberty, such as children seeking asylum. These children arrive in Malta with very little knowledge of what is owed to them by law, and how they can set justice procedures in motion.
“Support was needed for young people in detention and those in rehabilitation for substance abuse. Child victims of violence need immediate psychosocial support, provided by the State,” she said, highlighting the need for individual assessment of children.
Participants at the workshops shared their hopes that the forthcoming revisions to the child protection bill would retain a number of methods that ensured accountability at administrative and judicial levels would be improved and developed.
For instance, a number of innovations in the original bill such as mandatory reporting, the introduction of the Children’s House model and the involvement of the judicial system in child protection were deemed crucial to the wellbeing of children in the out of home care system.