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Rights of the child


The European Commission wishes to make training material available which will be helpful both to legal practitioners for their own use and to the trainers of legal practitioners as a resource for their work in the field of the rights of the child.


Child-friendly justice

Justice in matters involving child victims and witnesses of crime

The fight against the children of trafficking

The fight against female genital mutilation

Child-friendly justice

Guidelines on child-friendly justice (Council of Europe)

The guidelines on child-friendly justice deal with questions relating to the role, views, rights and needs of the child in judicial proceedings and in alternative procedures. The guidelines and accompanying explanatory memorandum can be used when designing training modules. They were adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on 17 November 2010. They are available in Link opens in new windowEnglish and Link opens in new windowFrench and translations into many other EU languages are available Link opens in new windowhere.

Toolkit on child-friendly justice and children's rights (Child Rights International Network – CRIN)

The Child Rights International Network has produced a toolkit on the child's right to child-friendly justice, including examples of good practice, international and regional standards and research, and other resources. It is available in Link opens in new windowEnglish, Link opens in new windowFrench and Link opens in new windowSpanish.

Toolkit on diversion and alternatives to detention (UNICEF)

UNICEF developed a toolkit on judicial proceedings and alternatives to detention, giving guidance as to how to ensure that the rights of children in conflict with the law are protected in accordance with Articles 37(b), 40.1, 40.3(b) and 40.4 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The toolkit provides practical advice on how to implement diversion and alternatives to detention, and also includes examples of projects and other resources from a range of countries to assist with practical implementation of the ideas.

Diversion is the conditional channelling of children in conflict with the law away from judicial proceedings towards a different way of resolving the issue that enables many - possibly most - to be dealt with by non-judicial bodies, thereby avoiding the negative effects of formal judicial proceedings and a criminal record. 'Alternatives to detention' refers to measures that may be imposed on children who are being formally processed through the criminal justice system, at both pre-trial and sentencing stages, without depriving them of their liberty.

The toolkit is available Link opens in new windowhere in English.

International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO)

The International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO) was founded in 2003 with the goal of encouraging global juvenile justice without borders. Via its website, the IJJO aims to promote the exchange of knowledge and good practice, sources of information, key research and reports. It is also involved in the development of training in this area. The website is available in Link opens in new windowEnglish, Link opens in new windowFrench and Link opens in new windowSpanish.

Interagency Panel on Juvenile Justice

The Interagency Panel on Juvenile Justice maintains a database which provides a good overview of training materials available in this area and can be filtered to find tools, handbooks and training manuals. It is available in Link opens in new windowEnglish, Link opens in new windowFrench and Link opens in new windowSpanish.

Juvenile Justice Training Manual (Penal Reform International – PRI and UNICEF)

The Juvenile Justice Training Manual is designed to help with the organisation of training sessions on children's rights. The training manual can be used by any training provider organising training sessions aimed at professionals, including judges, magistrates, lawyers, prosecutors, the police, detention staff, social workers and other actors that work with children in conflict with the law. It was published by Penal Reform International (PRI) and UNICEF.

It is available here in Link opens in new windowEnglish.

Training manual on protecting children’s rights in criminal justice systems (Penal Reform International – PRI)

Protecting Children’s Rights in Criminal Justice Systems: A training manual is intended to be a comprehensive reference guide for those working in a range of professions or agencies within the criminal justice system. The training module is aimed at professionals and stakeholders who are involved in training as part of their jobs and it is intended to help them to effectively teach the principles outlined in the manual using experience-based training methodology.

The manual covers the issue of children in conflict with the law, and child victims and witnesses. It also discusses ways of responding to children who may be at risk of coming under criminal justice systems. Within these areas, the manual focuses on topics such as child protection, crime prevention, law enforcement, trial procedures, and sentencing and rehabilitation.

The manual, developed by Penal Reform International, is available in Link opens in new windowEnglish.

Justice in matters involving child victims and witnesses of crime

Handbook for professionals and policymakers on justice in matters involving child victims and witnesses of crime (United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime – UNODC)

The Handbook, written for professionals and policy-makers is designed to assist countries in implementing, at national level, the guidelines on justice in matters involving child victims and witnesses of crime and other relevant international guidelines. It is based on international best practice in the criminal justice system's treatment of child victims and witnesses of crime. It is intended to serve as guidance for policymakers and for professionals dealing with child victims and witnesses of crime, such as judges, medical and support staff, law enforcement officials, prosecutors, social workers, staff of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and teachers. The handbook is available in Link opens in new windowEnglish, Link opens in new windowFrench and Link opens in new windowSpanish. A model law and related commentary on the same subject are also available in Link opens in new windowEnglish.

Online training on the UN guidelines on justice in matters involving child victims and witnesses of crime (UNODC and UNICEF)

This online training can be followed by any professional or policy-maker interested or working in the area of support for child victims and witnesses of crime. The course was developed jointly by UNODC, UNICEF and International Bureau for Children's Rights (IBCR) with the support of the Government of Canada. It is available online free of charge, and access is obtained simply by registering on the website. A certificate of completion is awarded to users who work through all relevant tests. The course is available in Link opens in new windowEnglish.

The fight against the trafficking of children

Guidelines on the protection of child victims of trafficking (UNICEF)

The guidelines on the protection of child victims of trafficking set out standards for good practice based on international human rights policies. The guidelines cover the protection of trafficked children, from their identification through to their recovery and re-integration, and may be used together with other guidelines and tools developed to help prevent the trafficking of children. At national and regional levels, these guidelines could be used as a starting point for developing policies and practices taking account of local circumstances, constraints and resources. The aim of the guidelines is to assist governments and state actors, international organisations, and NGOs and other service providers. They are available in Link opens in new windowEnglish.

Other UNICEF resources on child protection may be found Link opens in new windowhere.

Training manual on the fight against the trafficking of children for labour, sexual and other forms of exploitation (International Labour Organisation – ILO)

This training manual is designed to help governments, workers, employers, and international organisations, and NGOs involved in combatting the trafficking of children for labour, sexual and other forms of exploitation. It consists of three textbooks (Understanding child trafficking, Action against child trafficking at policy and outreach levels and Matters of process), a book of practical exercises and a guide for facilitators. The manual is available in Link opens in new windowEnglish, Link opens in new windowFrench and Link opens in new windowSpanish. It has been developed by ILO and UNICEF and forms part of the UN global initiative to fight human trafficking.

The fight against female genital mutilation

'United to end female genital mutilation' (UEFGM) e-learning tool

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is internationally recognised as a violation of women's human rights and a form of child abuse. Like any other form of gender-based violence, it constitutes a breach of the fundamental right to life, liberty, security, dignity, equality between women and men, non-discrimination and physical and mental integrity, as defined by the World Health Organisation.

The 'United to end female genital mutilation' (UEFGM) e-learning course addresses the issue of FGM in the context of health and asylum services. Legal practitioners may be interested in the first two foundation modules, which provide an introduction to understanding FGM as a human rights issue and as a specific form of gender‑based violence. Legal practitioners specialising in asylum law may be interested in the two specialised modules in the area of asylum.

The course is available in Link opens in new windowEnglish, Link opens in new windowItalian and Link opens in new windowPortuguese.


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Last update: 09/11/2017