NPF, EU, UNICEF Launch Child-Friendly Procedures (SOPs) For Child Justice System


The Nigeria Police Force NPF, European Union EU, UNICEF have officially launched the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for children who come in contact with the Law, whether in police, prosecutors departments, or the judiciary, require child-friendly procedures that are sensitive and responsive to the specific needs and circumstances of children.

Unveiling the 15, 000 copies of the SOPs on Thursday, 8 June 2023 at the Nigeria Police Headquarters, Abuja, the Inspector-General of Police IGP Usman Alkali Baba the approved SOPs offer a strategic framework to provide clear guidelines on procedures for providing services for children to facilitate timely access to justice, as justice delayed is justice denied.

Baba said implementing the SOPs will require a workforce with the capacity to establish and implement child-friendly procedures.  However, implementing child-friendly procedures in the child justice system, including the Nigeria Police Force, needs enhancement.

"The child-friendly procedures will include using language suitable for their age at all stages of the process, provision and utilization of safe and comfortable child-friendly interviewing spaces, provision of support by appropriate adults, linkages with social welfare and other sector services, availability of trauma-informed interview and testimony processes, removal of intimidating attire and appearances, evidence-based and timely provision of services, adaptation of proceeding protocols and information management system for the evidenced-based services delivery," he said.

In their goodwill messages respectively, the  representatives of the European Union, Esme Stuart, a project Manager, Human Rights and Gender noted that today's launch is part of the regional partnership between UNISEF and the European Union that aims to provide excess to justice for children on the move and other vulnerable children not only in Nigeria but in six countries across West Africa.

"As a EU delegation to Nigeria, we are happy that Nigeria is part of this regional project because there is always room for improvement in the excess to justice and alternative care option for children especially for those in vulnerable situations," She said.

Dr Ibrahim Sesay, Chief Child Protection, UNICEF stressed that the UNICEF seized the opportunity to thank the European Union for the financial contribution towards the development of the SOPs. This is a significant contributions towards the strengthenong of the justice institutions in Nigeria in a bid to improve the protection of Children and their well being more specially for those who are on the move as part of the project.

The development of this SOPs demonstrates the commitment of the Nigeria Police Force to ensure Child friendly policing in the Federation. The procedures are consistent with international legal frameworks, regional standard and best practices that include but not limited to rules of the protection of the juvenile deprived of their liberty as well as the standard minimum rules for the administration of the Juvenile justice.

The 2014 VAC survey has evidence that less than six percent of children who experience violence, abuse, neglect, and exploitation receive the services they need within the justice system. 

On May 25th, 2015 the past President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan recorded a milestone when he signed into law the Violence Against Person (Prohibition) Act 2015, bringing to a successful conclusion the long awaited social and legislative advocacy championed by women’s group and gender activist towards the passage of the law that will indeed protect the girl child and women from all sort of abuses.

The Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) launched today will enhancing the capacity of Nigeria Police Force on child rights standards handling children's issues, ensuring child-friendly, timely and effective services to children who are in contact with the Police as victims, survivors, witnesses or as alleged offenders and supporting the implementation of the national and international standards in line with the CRC/CRA and the equivalents states legislations.

Miss Nkiru Maduechesi, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF gave the significance of investing in the implementation of the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) which is for AWARENESS: Policymakers, service providers, allies, stakeholders, children and caregivers are aware of the SOPs and adopt.

"For UNDERSTANDING: Police officers and allied workforce in the social welfare who are the intended users benefit by having improved capacity to implement the standard.

"For ACTION: Children served by Police benefit from services which comply with the standards bring about positive changes in protection, well-being, peace and prosperity of children, families and country as a whole," she noted.

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