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Press Centre (11/2014)

Justice now more "child friendly"


The Project “Justice for Children” launched jointly by the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Family and Social Policies and the Ministry of European Union with the technical support of UNICEF and the financial support of the European Union Delegation in Turkey was completed successfully. Various instruments were developed to increase coordination among different agencies; specialized and institutionalized pre and in-service training programmes were prepared for those working in the juvenile justice system and various steps were taken to present a better future to children in institutional care and in prison. 


ANKARA, 26 November 2014 – The Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Family and Social Policies, Ministry of European Union and Justice Academy informed the public about the outcomes of the project “Justice for Children” further to nearly three years of intensive work, with the technical support of UNICEF and financial support from the European Union. The Minister of Justice and HSYK President Bekir Bozdağ; Ayşenur İslam, Minister of Family and Social Policies; Lieke van de Wiel Representative, OIC UNICEF Turkey Country Office; Bela Szombati, Deputy Head of EU Delegation to Turkey; Central Finance and Contracts Unit Director Emine Döğer and Enis Yavuz Yıldırım, General Director of Prisons and Detention Centres of the Ministry of Justice were present at the meeting held on the occasion.
 
3.15 million Euros were invested in better protecting child rights, including fair trials for children, prevention of secondary victimization, improved coordination among different agencies and use of deprivation of liberty only as a last resort.
 
31 “Child-friendly Judiciary Interview Rooms” are being established in 26 courthouses, where child victims, witnesses or suspects will be heard only once when giving their testimonials, instead of being interrogated several times by numerous officials. About 2,000 professionals underwent specialization and case-based pre/in service training curricula were developed so that they can make the best use of the Child Protection legislation and related services. An “Individualized Rehabilitation System” (BİSİS) in detention was taken to scale and conditional release for children was strengthened. Also, the “ANKA Psychosocial Support Programme” was created to better respond to the needs of children staying in child support centres.
 
In her speech Ayşenur İslam, Minister of Family and Social Policies stated that “Under this project within our Ministry, psychosocial support and intervention programme for Child Support Centres has been developed for children who are victims of crime, forced into crime, substance users, living on streets are being rehabilitated. With this programme named Anka (Phoenix) our rehabilitation initiatives will be more successful and effective. It creates a great opportunity for our children to rise from their ashes like a phoenix.”
 
Bela Szombati, Deputy Head of EU Delegation to Turkey stated "We are confident that this project has made a significant contribution to better protect children’s rights in the justice system. In addition, the project has significantly strengthened links between the judiciary and social services and has thus contributed to an innovative, multidisciplinary approach in realising a more child-friendly justice."
 
OIC  UNICEF Turkey Country Office Lieke van de Wiel noted: ‘The Child Protection Law of 2005 was a milestone - a collective effort and achievement - which completely changed the way Turkish society and, more specifically the judiciary, approach children. This law is foundation of Justice for Children in Turkey. At the same time, all the activities of the past 3 years – research, trainings, field work – demonstrated that this legislative framework can be strengthened to make the system even more child-focused, more open to promising new approaches, such as mediation and probation, and more efficient. So, while the project is completed, our joint work continues with all partners, for children and with children.’
 
WHAT HAS BEEN ACHIEVED?
 
  • Standards are set for Courthouse Child Interview Rooms, one is established in Ankara and 30 more will be open in 26 courthouses in 23 provinces by February 2015.
  • The Individualized Rehabilitation System (BİSİS) in detention is rolled out in 20 provinces and about 600 public servants are trained.
  • The ANKA Child Support Programme is being used in all Child Support Centres of the Ministry of Families and Social Policies across Turkey.
  • Research is completed by national and international experts about the state of juvenile justice system in Turkey, protective and supportive measures, child sections in public prosecutors’ offices and public custody to inform policies and legislative reforms. Preliminary findings and consultations were shared in a national Symposium on “Justice for Children” and its published report.
  • The Strategy Document on Coordination in Child Protection Services is shared with all provinces and the completion and impact of protective and supportive measures ordered for children by judges across the country are now being monitored centrally.  
  • Specialized pre and in-service training on juvenile justice are benefitting about 800 justice professionals, and incorporated into the curricula of the Ministry of Justice and Justice Academy.
  • New instruments are developed to improve conditional release for children from detention
 
For more information:
Sema Hosta, Chief of Communications, UNICEF Turkey +90 312 454 1000, shosta@unicef.org

Photos: @UNICEF/Türkiye-2014/Üstün 

                      
UNICEF Turkey Country Office, Yukarı Dikmen Mah. Alexsander Dubçek Cd. 7/106, 06450 Çankaya/Ankara. Telephone: +90 312 454 1000 Fax: +90 312 496 1461 E-mail: ankara@unicef.org