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Story Highlights

  • The Office of the Children’s Advocate will be embarking on training sessions with key stakeholders in the justice system.
  • Children’s Advocate, Diahann Gordon Harrison, said that training sessions are being planned for police officers, justices of the peace and other groups and stakeholders.
  • The Child Justice Guidelines was launched on November 20, as the country celebrated Universal Children’s Day.

The Office of the Children’s Advocate will be embarking on training sessions with key stakeholders in the justice system to ensure the effective implementation of the recently launched Child Justice Guidelines.

Children’s Advocate, Diahann Gordon Harrison, said that training sessions are being planned for police officers, justices of the peace and other groups and stakeholders, who are key to the proper execution of the measures.

“We believe that when we get to these persons, who are in the field at the operational level and explain the relevant aspects of the guidelines, then the whole initiative will come alive, thereby informing the daily work that these persons will do,” she stated, while addressing a recent JIS Think Tank.

The Child Justice Guidelines was launched on November 20, as the country celebrated Universal Children’s Day.

It covers areas such as police interaction with children; the provision of reasonable information to the families of these children; guidance on best practices that ought to be obtained during a court sitting; as well as court orientation for the child by the prosecutor, defence counsel, Victim Support Unit and other professionals.

Mrs. Gordon Harrison said it was created as a result of findings from research conducted by the Office of The Children’s Advocate in 2009, which assessed the experiences of children in state care, who appear before the courts and highlighted the challenges that they faced.

As a result, she said, “a collective decision was taken to establish guidelines so that the capacity of the persons, who work in the justice system, could be improved.”

She noted that the document is a practical resource handbook for all persons in the justice sector.

“In the handbook there are guidelines for police officers that address how they should treat children who are victims of crime, mere witnesses or those who are in conflict with the law,” Mrs. Gordon Harrison explained.

An e-copy of the document can be located on the resource page of the OCA’s website at www.oca.gov.jm.