Justice system reports decrease in child offenders

2011-04-04 12:42

The number of children channelled through the criminal justice system has decreased since the implementation of the Child Justice Act, Women, Children and People with Disabilities Minister Lulu Xingwana said today.

The number of children awaiting trial in the correctional services facilities decreased from 500 when the act came into force in April 2010, to less that 300 in December, Xingwana said at meeting of the national children’s rights advisory council in Pretoria.

“Most of these 300 children were awaiting [trial for] serious and violent crimes.”

She said her department emphasised that children’s rights came with responsibility.

“This approach should contribute to safer communities by encouraging children to become law-abiding and productive adults.”

Xingwana praised the act as an important tool in protecting children’s rights, holding child offenders accountable and preventing further offences.

A progress report on the implementation of the Children’s Act will be tabled at the two-day meeting, which is being attended by NGOs and United Nations agencies.

Discussions will also be held on a strategic plan for the development of women, children and the disabled.

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