The legal rights of children, regardless of ethnicity, nationalities, health conditions, sexual orientations and circumstances in life, should be protected and more should be done to develop a child-inclusive justice system.
This was what SUSS Public Safety and Security (PSS) students learnt in a sharing session by Ms Angela Vigil, Partner and Executive Director of Pro Bono at law firm Baker McKenzie, on 18 October 2022.
Participants at the Thinking Train session on 18 October 2022.
The sharing session is the latest of the Thinking Train series, an event presented by the Public Safety and Security programme. In each session, local and international experts, and industry partners from the security sector provide students with insights and analysis on emerging trends in crime and social issues.
During the session, Ms Vigil spoke about the outcomes of the 2021 World Congress on Justice with Children. The congress was an initiative by international children’s rights organisation Terre des hommes Foundation and the theme for the meeting was “Ensuring access to justice for all children: towards non-discriminatory and inclusive justice systems”.
Ms Vigil covered the three objectives of the congress, which was to ensure inclusive access to justice for children without discrimination, resilient access to justice for children in the face of crises and pandemics, and their efforts in ensuring child-friendly access to justice for all children in contact with the law.
Industry partners, including the Ministry of Social and Family Development, Singapore Children’s Society, The Singapore Association for the Deaf and Lutheran Community Care Services, were also present at the event.
The students and industry partners discussed with Ms Vigil on possible solutions that can be implemented in the Singapore context. They contributed ideas such as providing children with interpreters before and during the trial period to overcome communication and language barriers, and for consideration to be given to the age of the child.
Nur Anisah Norazly, Year 1 PSS student, finds the session enriching. She said, “The information is valuable in shaping my perspective on the importance of public safety and security to the larger community.”
Associate Professor Razwana Begum, Head of Programme for the Public Safety and Security programme (right), presented a token of appreciation to Ms Angela Vigil (left) at the end of the sharing session.
Ms Vigil said that she was appreciative of the students’ and industry partners’ contributions and would be taking them back to include in the discussions on justice with children.
She added, “I really hope that (the session) has been helpful and interesting and gave (all attendees) a little bit of engagement about how we can work together to enhance the justice system for children.”