Photo: UNICEF

Following the national launch in HCMC, it is expected that the Family and Juvenile Court will be rolled out across all the provinces and districts of Viet Nam.

“The creation of the Family and Juvenile Court is a milestone for children’s rights in Viet Nam, and the achievement of a long journey. This is a wonderful achievement that speaks for the continued role of Viet Nam as a leader for child rights in the region and globally”, said Mr. Youssouf Abdel-Jelil, UNICEF Representative in Viet Nam.

The creation of the Family and Juvenile Court is part of wider child justice reform introduced under the reform Law on Handling of Administrative Violations, the Penal Code and the Penal Procedure Code. This includes new mechanism to divert children away from the formal administrative and criminal systems, promotion of community-based rehabilitation as an alternative to detention, and reintegration for children in conflict with the law, as well as child-friendly and gender sensitive procedures.

The new court will allow dedicated judges to be appointed and trained to handle children’s cases. Specialised Judges will enable decisions to be tailored to the needs of an individual child and ensure that the child’s best interests is a primary consideration. The new court will also enable a more favourable environment for children and their families to be able to participate more fully in judicial proceedings.

The Family and Juvenile Court is multi-jurisdictional, covering children’s matters in the civil, administrative and criminal law. Expected to be a central component of Viet Nam’s national child protection system, the new court plays a vital role in connection with all social sectors - especially social welfare, security, justice, education, health - to support prevention and response to protection related risks.

“The establishment of the Family and Juvenile Court in the People’s Court system is an important milestone in the legal reform process. This has shown Viet Nam’s strong commitment in realizing children’s rights, especially for children in contact with law. This can be done through building a comprehensive judicial system for children, centered by the Family and Juvenile Court, with strong cooperation and engagement of the concerned agencies”, said Chief Justice Truong Hoa Binh of the Supreme People’s Court of Viet Nam.

Social Workers play an important role in diagnosing causes of child protection problems or identifying factors contributing to offending behaviours. They also provide assistance to a child during the legal process, as well as delivering and facilitating rehabilitation and reintegration services. The lack of legal recognition of Social Workers remains a significant barrier to the effectiveness of the new court.

“We must always remember that every person under the age of 18 years has not reached the age of majority and is a child, a child who will come seeking justice in a world where their rights are often considered secondary to the rights of adults, where their opinions and views are not considered. The new courts across Viet Nam are a significant response within the larger child protection system”, said Mr. Abdel-Jelil./.

Khac Kien