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Human Rights Council - 25th Regular Session
Annual Full Day Meeting on the Rights of the Child
13 March 2014
Australia welcomes the opportunity to participate in today’s discussion. We thank the speakers and panellists for sharing their views and experiences. These provided a useful insight into the challenges relating to ensuring children’s access to justice.
Australia is committed to the promotion and protection of the rights of the child. We recognise there is a need to address the particular vulnerabilities of children in the justice system, as well as the importance of a child sensitive justice system.
Australia has a range of child-friendly access to justice procedures and mechanisms under Australian criminal, civil and administrative law, as well as support services, including counselling and legal services.
Australia recognises the importance of child sensitive justice systems and provides a range of protections for child-witnesses. These protections ensure that children are provided with appropriate care and support, including by allowing for the giving of evidence by closed-circuit television, video-link or video-recording. Children are also able to have a support person with them while they give evidence.
Australia’s family law system is focused on the best interests of the child. In difficult cases, an independent children’s lawyer can be appointed to assist the Courts in making a decision in the best interest of the child. A range of child-focused services are available to enable parenting matters to be resolved out of court.
Providing children with knowledge, skills and information is an important element of increasing children’s access to justice. In Australia, a national curriculum has been developed which is designed to educate children about understanding conflict and best approaches to dispute resolution. We are interested in the experiences of others in this regard.