All children experience a child-friendly legal system. This system treats them with dignity, attentiveness, respect and fairness, and is comprehensible and dependable. Specially trained professionals listen to children, take their views seriously, and ensure that the interests of those who are unable to express themselves are also protected. The pace of procedures is adapted to the needs of the children: We act as expeditiously as possible. Children are given appropriate access to the legal system, they are treated in a respectful manner, their concerns are met with immediate support and efforts are made to build their resilience. Children are able to participate actively in decisions that will often affect the rest of their lives. Thanks to this experience of self-efficacy, they learn to take responsibility for themselves.
We offer direct assistance to children and young people. We assess their circumstances with regard to children’s (procedural) rights, provide information and advice, act as an intermediary between on-site specialists and children and young people, make recommendations and report annually to the federal government and the cantons.
We are committed to ensuring that all specialists in the legal system are familiar with the Guidelines of the Council of Europe on child-friendly justice and that children’s (procedural) rights are properly applied. We can only achieve this goal if all specialists are serious about implementation and if everyone is aware of the importance of providing direct support with regard to the concerns of children, and of building their resilience and offering effective protection. (See also Deed of Foundation – Purpose)
Resilience – Empowering children and young people
Children and young people should be empowered by their experience of coming into contact with the legal system.
Among other aspects, the guidelines from the Council of Europe encompass the right to information, guidance and expression of opinion, as well as legal representation. These rights have a direct impact on the resilience of children and young people. At a very early age, children learn that by expressing their will, they can have an effect on their surroundings and can thus also contribute to finding solutions.
If children and young people are taken seriously by professionals and specialists, particularly before the courts and authorities, they can experience an immediate reinforcement of their self-esteem.
Resilience (from the Latin resilire “to rebound, recoil, or spring back”) is the ability to master crises through recourse to personal and socially mediated resources, and to use these as an opportunity to develop.
Factors for resilience include:
- Self-efficacy beliefs
- Positive self-awareness
- Adequate ability for self-organisation
- Problem-solving competencies
- Social skills
- Appropriate handling of stress
- Stable relationships
You can find comprehensive literature and specialist articles on the subject of resilience in our Information Centre.