UNICEF, United Nations Children's Fund,UNODC, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
When government officials and the institutions making up the juvenile justice system do not have information either about the functioning of the system or the children who are in contact with it, abuse, violence and exploitation can occur with impunity, and the experience of the child is unlikely to be in his or her best interests. A child may spend long periods deprived of liberty or be sentenced to a measure that is inappropriate for ensuring his or her welfare. A delay in a child’s case before the courts may go unnoticed for months or even years. Government officials may find it difficult to assess the impact of new juvenile justice policies or guidelines. In short, a failure to carefully record and strategically make use of juvenile-justice-related information contributes to a failure to ensure the protection of the child in conflict with the law.
In the course of a global consultation on child protection indicators held in November 2003, participants discussed the development of a set of global indicators for juvenile justice. The meeting began with some sixty suggested indicators. Consideration and prioritisation reduced the list to fifteen indicators, five of which were identified as of core importance. These fifteen indicators have been refined through field testing in a number of countries and are endorsed by the Inter-agency Coordination Panel on Juvenile Justice. The purpose of this manual is to introduce the fifteen juvenile justice indicators and to make clear their utility. It explains how measuring the indicators can contribute to the protection of the child in conflict with the law through actions at both the local and the central level. It offers practical guidance, strategies and tools for information collection, information collation and calculation of the indicators.