Judicial Academy and UNICEF improve judicial experts’ work with children
Zagreb, 10 December 2018
The Director of the Judicial Academy, Andrea Posavec Franić, and the Acting Head of the UNICEF Office for Croatia, Đurđica Ivković, signed Memoranda of Understanding to improve the work of judicial experts in their contacts with children in the period from 2018 to 2020. The main objective is to create a sustainable programme for lifelong professional development for all 1,038 judicial officials and experts who come into contact with children in various judicial proceedings, as well as for their future colleagues.
Further, in partnership with the State Attorney’s Office of the Republic of Croatia and the Faculty of Education and Rehabilitation Sciences, a programme is launched for the specialised training of 98 attorneys for youth and 20 non-legal professionals in state attorney offices working with child witnesses and child victims in criminal proceedings and with juvenile perpetrators of criminal offences. Together with the professional and financial assistance of UNICEF, this will serve to ensure better understanding of the rights and needs of children during the work of both current and future judicial experts, who will then be able to adjust their tasks to fit the needs of those who need support the most.
Đurđica Ivković, Acting Head of the UNICEF Office for Croatia, declared at the signing of the Memoranda of Understanding: “To be in contact with the judicial system is stressful enough even for adults, and it is particularly stressful for children. However, we can make this experience easier on children by adapting to their abilities and needs. To do so, it is necessary to become acquainted with their rights and specific features of development. Amongst other things, it is our shared wish to ensure that the following become common standards for communication with children in such circumstances: that the child is duly provided with information, their opinions are heard, they are treated with dignity and compassion, and their privacy is protected. These Memoranda of Understanding will enable judicial experts to attend training to improve that communication”.
The Director of the Judicial Academy, Andrea Posavec Franić, stated: “The Judicial Academy pays special attention to the professional training of judicial officials and non-legal professionals who work with children. This is why cooperation with UNICEF is more than welcome. Despite the constraints encountered by judicial officials and other professionals in their work with children, children are a vulnerable group that should receive greater attention and care. Thanks to cooperation with UNICEF, the Academy will have strengthened capacities to implement lifelong learning and to provide specialised training for judicial officials and employees who work with children in criminal, administrative and civil proceedings.”