Children and young people across Europe take action to end violence in custody
A report published on January 28 2013 by the Children’s Rights Alliance for England (CRAE) presents the campaigning activities undertaken by forty children and young people in Austria, Cyprus, England, the Netherlands and Romania to try and create violence-free youth custodial settings in their countries.
The campaigning activities were carried out as part of CRAE’s Ending Violence against Children in Custody project, funded by the European Commission’s Daphne III programme.
The youth-led campaigns in each country were based on the recommendations developed by young researchers in the first phase of the project.
Campaigners in Austria followed up the full range of recommendations from the research phase of the project in a series of meetings with the Juvenile Custody Centre and pre-trial remand unit. Some young campaigners met with the Director of the Juvenile Custody Centre to discuss their concerns about violence in custody and recommendations for change and to see how they could be taken forward at the Centre.
Young campaigners in Cyprus focused on living conditions in prison and pushed for increased support for young prisoners through mentoring programmes. They decided to carry out a series of awareness raising activities to educate other young people about the conditions in custody and to develop some momentum for change.
In England the young campaign team focused on two campaign issues that they felt would help to create violence free custody for children and young people:
• Installing cameras with sound recording in custodial and police settings;
• Reviewing the qualities of staff who are employed in custodial settings.
They had a meeting with the Youth Justice Board (YJB) to discuss these issues and explore what action could be taken.
The young campaigners in the Netherlands compiled a ‘Top 10’ from the longer list of recommendations developed during the research phase of the project. They decided to work on awareness-raising about violence in custody targeting the Government, Parliament and other professionals and experts.
In Romania the young campaign team took action on three key issues:
• Video surveillance in police stations;
• Better activities in custodial settings;
• Reducing the numbers of internees in each room in custody.
A letter was sent to the Ministry of Justice and discussions were held with representatives from the National Administration of Penitentiaries to discuss the recommendations.
Links to the project reports:
Ending violence against children in custody European research report
Ending violence against children in custody European campaign report
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