Jus­tice needs child-friendly lan­guage, says the Pres­i­dent

Malta Independent - - NEWS -

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.

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