Despite efforts to provide children in conflict with the law quality legal assistance, knowledge of children’s rights and child justice by lawyers can still be improved. The lack of interdisciplinary knowledge is still an important obstacle for lawyers to understand the specific situation of each child and, therefore, to suggest relevant and appropriate measures. In most countries, lawyers recognize they need to gain more knowledge on child-friendly communication and a child-sensitive approach but the cost of training and the work overload are an important obstacle.
This Guide shall serve as a knowledge base to legal professionals. It contains 14 Quality Standards, listing core principles (i.e., participatory, child-centred, safe and protective etc.) and a Step-by-step Guide with precise instructions for lawyers to follow on how to provide legal assistance to children. The Guide is designed as a tool that can be used on short notice and that will guide a lawyer through the relevant phases of representing a child in conflict with the law. The Step-by-step guide also provides information about recognizing risks and making appropriate referrals to other professionals as needed; especially if the child is experiencing mental health challenges.