Following the most recent amendment to the Criminal Code in 2017, the number of crimes reported committed against children, and thus the role of children in legal procedures, has increased. A child’s role in legal procedures equates to interviewing and representing the child, i.e. exercise of procedural rights, and participation – a child’s direct involvement. Meanwhile, in practice, a child’s protection is fragmentary, and depends on the resources regarding expert knowledge and institutional resources in the locations in which the harm occurs, and also on how professionals, who frequently do not have full psychological and legal knowledge, interpret provisions.
The project includes a system of measures that have a mutual impact: training, creating tools (information packs, brochures, podcasts, posters, scripts), a public campaign, individual legal consultations conducted by telephone and e-mail, monitoring of formulation of the law and pending legal cases, observing court hearings, petitioning for changes to the law and submitting opinions of friends of the court, and study tours for law students to show them an interdisciplinary approach to helping child victims. The measures will be directed in a systemic manner towards people involved in keeping children from harm on three levels of preventative activity: children themselves, their parents/legal guardians and professionals who work in child protection, and the public at large.
The project will lead to enhancement of the skills of professionals who deal with child victims of crime, increased legal protection, and exercise of procedural rights of minors who are victims of crime. It will also tighten up legal protection of minors where proceedings are conducted incorrectly.