Child Justice Program

Objectives

  • Reducing child poverty through the promotion of children active citizenship.
  • Promoting child friendly communities through the development of a national child protection system in Cambodia.
  • Justice for children.

Established in 1997, LAC’s Child Justice Program provides support to both children in conflict with the law and child victims of crime. The Child Justice Program works to protect the rights of children, both under the laws of the Kingdom of Cambodia and also through the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The Child Justice Program operates in:
Battambang, Siem Reap, Banteay Meanchey, Pailin, Kampong Cham, Prey Veng, Svay Rieng, Mondulkiri and Rattanakiri.

Areas of Focus:

Juvenile Justice Law: At present, there is no specific law for dealing with juvenile offenders who are tried in the same system as adult offenders. Over the past few years LAC has worked closely with the Ministry of Justice in the drafting of a new law establishing the procedure for dealing with juvenile defenders.

Child Friendly Chamber: Cambodia does not operate a separate court system of juvenile offenders. LAC, along with Children Rights International, has been working with the Ministry of Justice to establish a child-friendly chamber in the Battambang court.

Alternative Sentencing: Cambodian law allows for the use of non-custodial sentences. However, no guidelines exist to allow their implementation resulting in many juvenile offenders being sent to prison for minor crimes. LAC has worked with justice officials to establish alternative sentencing mechanisms including diversion programs allow children to avoid prison for minor criminal acts.

Children in conflict with the law:

LAC works to ensure that children in conflict with the law are:

  • Interviewed by the police in the presence of a parent / guardian or lawyer
  • Not subject to physical or emotional abuse either by police or while detained at prison
  • Not subject to excessive pre-trial detention
  • Able to receive  a fair trial
  • Able to apply for diversion or a non-custodial sentence
  • Offered life-skills training and material support while in prison
  • Able to be integrated back into society upon release from prison

Child victims of crime:

In Cambodia, victims of crime often struggle to bring the perpetrators of crimes to justice to a combination of cultural and social attitudes towards violence against women, a culture of impunity, unfair legal and judicial processes and lack of governmental assistance to victims of this violence.

LAC works to:

  • Build children’s capacity to protect themselves from all forms of violence
  • Strengthen the capacity of the Family Protection Networks to be more functional
  • Set up Family Protection Networks
  • Form parenting group/caregivers and provide capacity building
  • Increase capacity building on UNCRC
    • Strengthen the functioning of the Child Protection Network and CWCC at the commune level

Donors:

The Child Justice Program is grateful for the support it receives from:

  • GIZ
  • Friend International.

Projects:

Further information about projects run by the Child Justice Program can be found here:

  1. Improving Protection for Children in Conflict with the Law: Banteay Meanchey and Siem Reap
  2. Protecting the Rights of Children in Contact with the Law Within the Cambodian Justice System: Battambang
  3. Preventing Violence Against Children: Prey Veng, Kampong Cham and Svay Rieng
  4. Protective, Legal, and Reintegration Services for Children at Risk of Conflict with the Law: Banteay Meanchey
  5. Prevention and Protection for Children in Conflict with the Law: Battambang and  Pailin
  6. Enhancing the Rights of Women and Children: Enhancing four main interventions: Battambang and Pailin
  7. Correction Centre 2: Phnom Penh