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UNICEF toolkit on diversion & alternatives to detention

Diversion from judicial proceedings and alternatives to detention are essential focus areas for those working on reforming justice systems to ensure the protection of the rights of children in conflict with the law in conformity with the Convention on the Rights of the Child - Articles 37(b), 40.1, 40.3(b) and 40.4.

Diversion and alternatives are therefore often prioritised in UNICEF's work.

This toolkit provides clear, user-friendly guidance and practical tools for UNICEF Child Protection Specialists and others working in this important field.

  • It covers both theory and practice.
  • It clarifies what diversion and alternatives are.
  • It explains in detail why they are important.
  • It provides practical guidance on how to implement diversion and alternatives using a systemic approach based on UNICEF's Protective Environment Framework and the UN Common Approach to Justice for Children.
  • It gathers together project examples and other resources from a range of countries for easy reference.

Using this toolkit will enable readers to gain a better understanding of diversion and alternatives to detention and to access a range of resources to assist with practical implementation.


Quick definitions:

Diversion - means 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 though the criminal justice system, at both pre-trial and sentencing stages, that do not involve deprivation of liberty.



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