Child perpetrators & child victims: international rights @ School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work at Queen's University, Belfast [5 September]

Child perpetrators & child victims: international rights

13:00 - 14:00

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School of Social Sciences, Education and Social Work at Queen's University
69-71 University Street, BT7 1HL Belfast, United Kingdom
Speaker: Dr Nessa Lynch, Faculty of Law, University of Victoria, Wellington

FREE SEMINAR — venue to be confirmed
Child perpetrators and child victims: the scope of international standards for children’s rights.

International standards for children’s rights are increasingly influential on domestic practice. The most widely applicable is the Convention and its associated standards, but regional standards such as the Council of Europe’s Child Friendly Justice Guidelines have also been developed. There is by now considerable academic and practice on the application of such standards in national youth justice systems. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of this literature focusses on the child who is in conflict with the law; the child as suspect, defendant or offender. There is, rightly, much discussion of how such children may often be more appropriately categorised as victims themselves, as a result of parental or state abuse and neglect, mental and physical health problems, lack of education, and poverty.

Nonetheless, there has been much less consideration of the application of international standards to another group of children who are affected by the youth justice system: the children who are victims of crime. Cases of offending by child perpetrator against a child victim, particularly in serious sexual offending cases, are amongst the most difficult issues which a youth justice system must resolve, and raise complex questions of balancing of rights and interests.

This article seeks to develop a conceptual framework for the rights and interests of the child victim of child-perpetrated offending. What guidance can international standards offer? How do child-specific standards such as the Convention interact with other international standards such as the victims’ rights standards? How do children’s rights standards conceptualise the public interest and the child victim’s interest safety. Whose best interests?

Nessa is originally from Ireland and a graduate of the National University of Ireland, University College Cork (BCL, LLM) and the University of Otago, New Zealand (PhD). She is a Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. Her research is broadly based on the interaction between the individual and the state in the criminal justice system, with a particular interest in children’s rights. She is the author of a monograph Youth Justice in New Zealand, which examines theory, legislation and practice in the New Zealand youth justice system. She has published journal articles nationally and internationally on youth justice, children’s rights and restorative justice.She is a regular contributor to youth justice policy and practice, advises government and non-governmental organisations on children’s rights in justice proceedings, and is a member of the Youth Court Education Committee of the Institute of Judicial Studies of New Zealand.
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