Violence Against Children in the Criminal Justice System: Global Perspectives on Prevention, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Violence Against Children in the Criminal Justice System

Global Perspectives on Prevention, 1st Edition

Edited by Wendy O'Brien, Cédric Foussard


272 pages | 7 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9781138340220
pub: 2019-09-30
Available for pre-order

FREE Standard Shipping!


Children who come into conflict with the law are more likely to have experienced violence or adversity than their non-offending peers. Exacerbating the deleterious effects of this childhood trauma, children’s contact with the criminal justice system poses undue risks of physical, sexual, and psychological violence. This book examines the specific forms of violence that children experience through their contact with the criminal justice system.

Comprising contributions from leading scholars and practitioners in children’s rights and youth justice, this book profiles evidence-based prevention strategies and case studies from around the world. It illustrates the diversity of contexts in which various forms of violence against children unfold and advances knowledge about both the nature and extent of violence against children in criminal justice settings, and the specific situational factors that contribute to, or inhibit, the successful implementation of violence prevention strategies. It demonstrates that specialised child justice systems, in which children’s rights are upheld, are crucial in preventing the violence inherent to conventional criminal justice regimes.

Written in a clear and accessible style, this book will be of interest to students and researchers engaged in studies of criminology and criminal Justice, youth justice, victimology, crime prevention, and children’s rights.


"Children and young people are routinely exposed to myriad forms of violence in criminal ‘justice’ systems around the world and those held in penal detention are especially vulnerable. This collection of essays both exposes such phenomena and charts ways in which it can be, and must be, addressed. The book makes a timely and important contribution to an evolving literature and it comprises an essential point of reference for researchers, advocates, policymakers and practitioners alike."

Professor Barry Goldson, Department of Sociology, Social Policy and Criminology, The University of Liverpool, UK

"To put children behind bars not only subjects them to the risk of violence, it is itself a form of structural violence. If we wish to protect children against violence in the criminal justice system, we must reduce the practice of detention and imprisonment to the absolute minimum permitted by the Convention on the Rights of the Child: as a measure of last resort and, if really not avoidable, then only for the shortest appropriate period of time. Most importantly, children in conflict with the law should be diverted from the criminal justice to the child welfare system. The global perspectives on prevention outlined in the present book contain valuable evidence which will inform the UN Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty and reaffirm my strong belief that we must strive at a society where no child is left behind bars."

Professor Manfred Nowak, University of Vienna and Global Campus of Human Rights Venice; Independent Expert leading the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty

"O’Brien & Foussard’s volume makes an important contribution of both societal and scientific relevance for the field of criminal justice in which, across the globe, many children suffer from violence and a denial of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The various chapters, written by leading authors from different parts of the world, provide diverse and enriching insights into how to prevent violence and secure humane treatment for all children in the criminal justice system."

Ton Liefaard, Vice-Dean and UNICEF Professor of Children’s Rights, Leiden Law School, Leiden University, The Netherlands.

"Featuring the insights of experts from various parts of the world, this volume illustrates the persistent challenges to realising children’s rights in the field of criminal justice. Collectively, the volume identifies the importance of: ending the needless criminalisation of very young children; ending violent and inhuman sentences; and ending violence within closed institutions. With a clarity that will appeal to specialists and non-specialists alike, this book presents rich insights into globally relevant violence prevention strategies such as diversion, restorative justice, reducing the use of pretrial detention, and ensuring therapeutic responses to child victims and children in conflict with the law.

As president of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, I warmly welcome this volume, and I wish the devoted editors a strong readership."

Justice Renate Winter, President of the Committee on the Rights of the Child, United Nations

Table of Contents


Marta Santos Pais


Wendy O’Brien

Part one: problematising the (in)visibility of children in conflict with the law

1. Youth justice ‘crises’ and the role for children’s rights in ending cycles of violence against children in conflict with the law

Wendy O’Brien

2. Media regulation: strategies to mitigate violence against children who are publicly ‘named and shamed’

Faith Gordon

3. Protective measures for children accused or convicted of serious crimes

Nessa Lynch

4. Independent oversight and monitoring: advancing the rights of children deprived of their liberty

Louise Forde & Ursula Kilkelly

Part two: strategies to ensure the implementation of protective statutory and procedural safeguards

5. Specialised child justice systems in Latin America: from national legal standards to effective implementation

Nicolás Espejo

6. Legal implementation: the missing piece of the puzzle in safeguarding children from violence in the Philippines Rowena Legaspi-Medina

7. Access to justice for child victims of sexual violence in institutional care in India: the importance of legal and therapeutic supports

Asha Bajpai

Part three: realising children’s rights through prevention

8. A hiding to something: reduction of violence against children in South Africa’s justice system

Ann Skelton

9. The call to end inhuman sentencing of children

Veronica Yates & Leo Ratledge

10. Reforming pretrial detention of children: strategies and challenges in the Netherlands & the United States

Yannick van den Brink & Bart Lubow

11. Diversion and restorative justice as tools to protect children from the violence of criminal justice involvement: lessons from Thailand

Monique Anderson & Kattiya Ratanadolik

12. The mutual compatibility of children’s rights and public safety: community-based measures for children in conflict with the law in Catalonia

Manel Capdevila & Cédric Foussard

About the Editors

Dr Wendy O’Brien is Adjunct Associate Professor at Deakin University, and Legal Officer with the Global Programme on Violence Against Children at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, in Vienna. Wendy publishes on child justice, violence against children, and children’s rights in the digital age. Wendy’s academic research is conducted in a personal capacity, and is not a reflection of the views of the institutions with which she is affiliated.

Cédric Foussard is an expert on justice for children, working at the international level. Foussard currently works for Terre des hommes Foundation as Advocacy and Global Learning Senior Advisor. For more than a decade he was Director of The International Juvenile Justice Observatory, an international not-for profit organisation that promotes a global approach to child rights, especially for children in conflict with the law. Foussard is the lead organiser of the World Congresses on Justice for Children. He has contributed to several international and European publications on access to justice for children.

About the Series

Routledge Frontiers of Criminal Justice

Routledge Frontiers of Criminal Justice offers the very best in research on criminal justice systems around the world, offering fresh insights on a range of topics in criminal procedure, including policing, prisons, courts, youth justice, community measures, rehabilitation, victimology and forensics science.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Criminology
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Violence in Society