Child victims of violence rarely have access to justice

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Child victims of violence rarely have access to justice, UNICEF says. Photo: UNICEF/Bulgaria/Holt

Most child victims of violence in parts of Europe and Asia find themselves unable to speak up or file charges in court, according to a new regional report launched by the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday.

Entitled "Children's Equitable Access to Justice in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia", the report sheds light on what UNICEF is calling "tremendous barriers" for children seeking justice.

The regional study focuses on Albania, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Montenegro.

Stephanie Coutrix reports.

Everywhere, every day, children are affected by violence and abuse, but only a fraction of them have access to a fair justice system able to make decisions in their best interests.

That's according to UNICEF's Global Chief of Child Protection, Susan Bissell.

She presented the new report at a policy discussion, urging governments and key partners to include children's specific rights in justice reforms.

In all of the countries in the study, the majority of children said they were not aware of any specific services and resources that they can turn to if they are in difficulty.

Meanwhile, cultural beliefs have reportedly made it unacceptable for children in Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia to confide in an adult outside of the home about violations within the home, in school or in their community.

However, the findings also show what was referred to as "notable progress" in the administration of justice by Governments in the region.

UNICEF says legal and social support to children going through justice processes is increasingly being provided.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 1’04″

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