The situation with disadvantaged children in Ukraine and issues with juvenile justice in Ukraine
The battle for Bahmut (a city in south-eastern Ukraine) continues and there seems to be no end to this Ukraine – Russia war on the horizon. The situation with at-risk children in Ukraine is much worse today for obvious reasons. Our program offers a path of relief today and hopes for tomorrow for at-risk Ukrainian children: https://helpchildreninukraine.org/
In our series of articles, we continue to provide details as far as disadvantaged children in Ukraine are concerned. One such issue is the juvenile justice system in Ukraine. Back in 1995, Ukraine adopted a Law “on Departments & Services for Minors and Special Institutions for Minors”. Unfortunately, since 1995 the Ukrainian government has not had the time and commitment to focus on this issue by creating sub-laws and decrees to start actually implementing this Law. One of the provisions of this Law is that a special education department in the Justice System of Ukraine should be created in order to educate and train juvenile judges and juvenile caretakers (special social workers) given the peculiarities of juvenile delinquency as compared to adult criminal behavior. In addition, important decrees must be adopted which would allow special measures of influence towards children with deviant behavior to combat juvenile delinquency.
As a background note, the real responsibility for criminal actions in Ukraine affects only individuals who have reached the age of 16. Only for especially brutal criminal acts (like murder, violent robbery, rape, etc.) criminal responsibility comes at the age of 14 to 16 y.o. However, some children from crisis families and social/biological orphans tend to initiate criminal activity at a much earlier age, starting from 10 and sometimes even earlier. For instance, if children under the age of 16 are caught in thefts, street attacks (even with ultimate body injuries on the victim of the attack), extortion, hooligan acts, etc. – – nothing can be done to punish and rehabilitate such juvenile criminals today. In reality, this means that when police find out about criminal actions of individuals below the age of 16, rarely any criminal investigation is initiated because the victim, possible witnesses, and police realize criminals under 16 y.o. cannot be persecuted. Finally, the abuser him/herself realizes that acts like this go unpunished. Peers of schoolchildren under 16 frequently come to understand this, which allows the potential to follow this “example” considering no punishment will be enforced. Further reform in this area is way past any deadline, however, no political force in Ukraine is pushing such reform today, as obviously, all attention is on the war.
We continue to monitor and support orphans and other the most disadvantaged children in Ukraine through a personal sponsorship program and general support program, please consider joining us!