Empirical evidence suggests that thousands of children come into contact with the juvenile justice system (JJS) either as children in conflict with the law or in need of care and protection. Both categories of children are often at risk of abuse by the system. These include physical and emotional abuse perpetrated by the judicial officers, the process and the institutions that provide care and shelter. This is partly due to limited knowledge and inappropriate procedures and spaces for holding the children. There is not an effective Juvenile Justice Information Management System (JJIMS) in many countries to inform policy and programs.

While both formal and informal justice systems have existed for several centuries, the concept of making decisions that are child right based and in the best interest of the child, is relatively new. A report by UNICEF (2002), estimated that 85% of children in the justice system were exposed to the criminal procedures, which should not be the case. This exposure often has detrimental effects to their development which may affect their developmental outcome later on in life. With an increasing number of children-specific matters being processed through both formal and informal justice systems, the question is, are the decisions made in the best interest of the child?

Policy makers and other legal actors lack evidence based practices that focus on a child right centred administration of justice. AICS has championed improvement of access to justice for children through training, research and policy advocacy.


child justice
justice system

AICS has over the years advocated and supported initiatives leading to responsive laws and policies that promote the realization of child rights in Africa. This includes a compendium of knowledge on promoting access to child justice in the special peer reviewed Interdisciplinary Journal of the African Child

We have supported government institutions to improve their service delivery. AICS has developed technological solutions to address capacity gaps in child justice system. An example is the Juvenile Justice Information Management System System (JJIMS). This has been in partnership with National Council for Administration of Justice

We have contributed to drafting of new laws on children in Kenya. AICS coordinated CSOs contribution to the bill through organizing consultation meetings through the Children Agenda Forum network, to which we are the secretariat. This led to drafting of the Children’s Bill currently being advocated for adoption into law—16th-June-2017.pdf

Gaps in the justice child justice system that require sustained interventions are presented in this report in Status Report on Children in the Justice System (