DCI national sections use a number of strategies to promote and defend the rights of children in juvenile justice:
- Advocacy and lobby
Eg: DCI-Sierra Leone led a successful lobby with the government to adopt a new legislation to protect children’s rights.
The Child Rights Act was enacted in 2007, improving the legal basis for children’s rights in juvenile justice. In particular, the Act: raised the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 11 to 14; established child panels to divert children from the criminal justice system; and, repealed the former corporal punishment act, which had allowed boys to be beaten as a sentence.
- Training and capacity building
Eg: DCI-Bolivia helps to build the capacities of justice professionals (including police officers, judges, lawyers and prison staff) by offering trainings on international standards in juvenile justice and strategies for non-violent discipline.
- Direct intervention
Eg: DCI-Uganda runs a socio-legal defence centre to assist children in conflict with the law. As part of the programme, DCI legally represents children and their families, monitors the conditions of detention centres, and transports children to their hearings.
- Monitoring and reporting
Eg: DCI-Palestine monitors and reports on violations against children living under occupation, including administrative detention and violence and abuse in police custody. Most recently, DCI-Palestine led a coalition of NGOs reporting to the UN Committee against Torture and produced a book providing recommendations for ending the torture of Palestinian children detained by Israel.
- Research and documentation
Eg: DCI-Netherlands, DCI-France and DCI-Belgium conducted a research study describing the prevalence of violence against children in detention institutions in these countries. The study recommends a set of 12 violence indicators which can be used to measure and monitor violence against children in conflict with the law.