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Juvenile diversion in Romania - Working in isolation

Prof. Dr. Ioan Durnescu, Corina Popa | Terre des hommes Romania | 70 pages
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Conducted within the "AWAY - Alternative Ways to Address Youth" project, this report provides an analysis of the juvenile justice system in Romania with a special focus on the diversion measures. The evaluation was conducted in the light of EU standards (Directives 2012/29; 2001/220; 2012/800), but also important UN standards (such as Havana Rules, Beijing Rules, Riyadh Guidelines and so on). 

The report was presented during an advocacy event organised in Bucharest, aiming to establish further priorities for the improvement of the juvenile justice system in Romania.

The evaluation was based on extensive literature review, legislative analysis, documentation, interviews and focus-groups. Juveniles themselves played an important role in identifying the gaps and solutions.

As far as diversion is concerned, Romania enjoys a progressive legislation that allows more juveniles to be diverted from the conventional justice than convicted ones. Approximately 4,000 juveniles are diverted from prosecution every year. However, there are early signs that this trend might cease in the near future as stakeholders are not fully satisfied with the outcomes of diversion. Participants in this research noted that a more professional response is needed in order to consolidate the status of diversion. In concrete terms, they suggested:

  • better training for the professionals involved, 
  • legislative changes that will bring juvenile obligations under the child protection or probation umbrella, 
  • a better monitoring system of the juvenile justice.

Overall, the juvenile justice legislation was found in line with the European and international standards. There are still slight changes that would make the system work more efficient. One of the main recommendations of this report is to adopt a national strategy for juvenile justice that would ensure a coherent and coordinated mechanism of implementation. Institutional fragmentation and insufficient specialization of staff were the most significant obstacles identified in this report. A national strategy, a registry of children in conflict with the law, clear standards and procedures together with systematic training could deal effectively with these difficulties.

Juveniles themselves and their families could also play a more active role in designing and implementing effective interventions with children in conflict with the law.

The research was written by Prof. Dr. Ioan Durnescu - Sociology and Social Work Faculty, University of Bucharest and by Corina Popa, former Project Manager of AWAY - Alternative Ways to Address Youth, Terre des hommes Romania, between march 2017 - march 2018.