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Juvenile Justice Project workshop held

Juvenile Justice Project workshop held

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The concept of a court diversion strategy, one that aims to steer young offenders away from firmer criminal court proceedings and towards community-based support was discussed during a two-day national consultation workshop this week.{{more}}

Key stakeholders from the Ministries of Legal affairs, Education, health and national mobilization, among other groups, gathered at the Sunset Shores conference room in Villa on Monday and Tuesday, where the initiative was discussed with consultant Jacqueline Sealey-Burke, who was mandated by the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States Secretariat to develop the strategy in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The consultation is part of the reformed Juvenile Justice Project that was launched here last year.

Gender Affairs coordinator Polly Oliver, speaking at Monday’s opening ceremony, said that the strategy aims to introduce diversion that involves the referral of cases away from harsher court trials and directing juveniles towards community support.

“One of the objectives and strategies under the project is the modernization of diversion, detention and rehabilitation processes in the juvenile justice system where support is given in the development of diversion and alternative to sentencing for juveniles brought to the court for most infractions.

“It will also guide the juvenile justice sector on approaches, programmes and roles… to foster integration of juveniles in communities.”

Workshop facilitator Sealy-Burke is a lawyer by profession, who has experience in child justice and gender equity.

The Grenadian is also a lecturer at St George’s University in Grenada, where she teaches in the graduate programme of the public health department.

The consultation is one of a series of events of the Juvenile Justice Reform project that has taken place since last year’s launch, with a number of workshops and consultations still to take place.(JJ)

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