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Thursday 1st of October 2020

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IJJO Glossary

The GLOSSARY of the International Juvenile Justice Observatory (IJJO) comes into being for the purpose of collecting together the terms that form part of the jargon most commonly used by professionals and employees involved in juvenile justice around the world.

Being conscious of the concurrent diversity between the different models and systems of juvenile justice, this Glossary wishes to highlight the meeting points and the differences between the various terms collected and their translations in English, French and Spanish.

Without doubt this represents the result of a comprehensive research effort, with the team of the International Juvenile Justice Observatory taking part in the preparatory process, along with the support and collaboration of other professionals and organizations.

The Glossary is a useful and practical tool which, through the terms included, aims to facilitate a greater comprehension and understanding of the different concepts that define juvenile justice systems on an international level.

The drafting process was carried out using national and international sources, which assisted us in delimiting the list of terms to be included, and the content of the definitions given.

In any case, the designations and terms included in the Glossary, as well as the content of each definition, in no way represent any stance or assessment on the part of the IJJO with respect to any particular juvenile justice system or model.

All of the sources used in the process of preparing the Glossary


Caution to the detained person
Instrucción (información) de derechos / Avertissement
Immediate and understandable information to be provided to any person who is arrested or imprisoned on the facts alleged against him, the reasons for his detention and the rights that are legally provided.
UNTERM, Translated from the original in Spanish

Imputado, inculpado, procesado, acusado / Prévenu (contraventions et délits), accusé (crimes)
A child is charged with an offence where the police, a law enforcement authority, the public prosecutor or a competent authority formally accuses him or her of having committed a specific offence.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. "Manual for the Measurement of Juvenile Justice Indicators" (United Nations, New York, 2008).

Niño / Enfant
A child means every human being below the age of eighteen years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier.
United Nations, Resolution 44/25- Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989)

Child participation
Participación de los Niños / Participation des Enfants
According to the General Comment no 12 (2009) the Right of the Child to Be Heard states that the views expressed by children may add relevant perspectives and experience and should be considered in decision-making, policymaking and preparation of laws and/or measures as well as their evaluation. These processes are usually called participation. The exercise of the child’s or children’s right to be heard is a crucial element of such processes. The concept of participation emphasizes that including children should not only be a momentary act, but the starting point for an intense exchange between children and adults on the development of policies, programmes and measures in all relevant contexts of children’s lives.
General Comment No. 12 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child CRC/C/GC/12 - The right of the child to be heard. (2009)

All citizens have the right to participate in the workings of democratic society and children as full rights holders are no exception.. Children's participation means the right of children to be heard and involved in decision making, whether at home, in the general life of the community, at school or in individual legal and administrative matters that concern them.
Council of Europe

Child protection
Protección de los niños / Protection de l'enfant
UNICEF uses the term ‘child protection to refer to preventing and responding to violence, exploitation and abuse against children including commercial sexual exploitation, trafficking, child labour and harmful traditional practices, such as female genital mutilation/cutting and child marriage.

Community measures
Medidas basadas en la Comunidad / Mesures appliquées dans la communauté
"33. Communities should provide, or strengthen where they exist, a wide range of community-based support measures for young persons, including community development centres, recreational facilities and services to respond to the special problems of children who are at social risk. In providing these helping measures, respect for individual rights should be ensured."
Resolution 45/112 - United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency - "The Riyadh Guidelines" (1990)

"21.4. 'community sanctions or measures' means any sanction or measure other than a detention measure which maintains juveniles in the community and involves some restrictions of their liberty through the imposition of conditions and/or obligations, and which is implemented by bodies designated by law for that purpose. The term designates any sanction imposed by a judicial or administrative authority and any measure taken before or instead of a decision on a sanction, as well as ways of enforcing a sentence of imprisonment outside a prison establishment."
Recommendation (2008)11 of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe on the European Rules for juvenile offenders subject to sanctions or measures.

Community service orders
Prestación de servicios a la comunidad / Peine de travail d’intérêt général
'Community service orders' may be understood to mean sentences in which the convicted person is expected to perform some activity that provides some benefit to the community.
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Statistics Division. "Manual for the Development of a System of Criminal Justice Statistics" (United Nations, New York, 2004)

Competent authority
Autoridad competente / Autorité compétente
The competent authority is the part of the juvenile justice or adult criminal justice system that is responsible for making procedural or disposition decisions regarding a child's case.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. "Manual for the Measurement of Juvenile Justice Indicators" (United Nations, New York, 2008).

One who presides over courts or tribunals (composed of a single judge or of several members), including professional and lay magistrates as well as administrative boards (for example the Scottish and Scandinavian systems) or other more informal community and conflict-resolution agencies of an adjudicatory nature.
United Nations, UNTERM

Predetermined division of a whole within which lawful authority may be exercised- its limits may be geographic as well as by type, subject or seriousness of a case.
United Nations, UNICRI

Complaints mechanism
Mecanismo de examen de quejas / Mécanisme de plaintes
A complaints mechanism is any system that allows a child deprived of liberty to bring any aspect of the treatment that child has received, including violations of his or her rights, to the attention of the authority responsible for the place of detention, or any other official body established for such purpose.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. "Manual for the Measurement of Juvenile Justice Indicators" (United Nations, New York, 2008).

Conflict with the law
Conflicto con la ley / Conflit avec la loi
A child is in conflict with the law where he or she has committed or has been accused of having committed an offence. Depending upon the local context, children may also be in conflict with the law where they are dealt with by the juvenile justice or adult criminal justice system for reason of being considered to be in danger by virtue of their behaviour or the environment in which they live.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. "Manual for the Measurement of Juvenile Justice Indicators" (United Nations, New York, 2008).

Condenado / Condamné
A child is convicted where he or she is found guilty of having committed an offence by the decision of a competent authority.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. "Manual for the Measurement of Juvenile Justice Indicators" (United Nations, New York, 2008).

Crime prevention organised by the communities
Prevención de la delincuencia desde la comunidad / Prévention de la criminalité au niveau de la collectivité
Prevention involving local government, schools, parents and citizens, police and justice agencies and the private sector.
Tenth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders: Community Involvement in Crime Prevention (Vienna, 10-17 April 2000).

Programs involving the community in planning, funding and implementing crime prevention activities.
United Nations, UNICRI

Criminal event
Suceso criminal / Fait délictueux
The criminal event is the most basic category for any criminal justice statistics system. It includes data on the 'criminal act', the 'offender' and the 'victim'.
United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Statistics Division. "Manual for the Development of a System of Criminal Justice Statistics" (United Nations, New York, 2004)

Criminal responsibility
Responsabilidad penal / Responsabilité pénale
According to Beijing Rules, the minimum age of criminal responsibility differs widely owing to history and culture. The modern approach would be to consider whether a child can live up to the moral and psychological components of criminal responsibility; that is, whether a child, by virtue of her or his individual discernment and understanding, can be held responsible for essentially antisocial behaviour. If the age of criminal responsibility is fixed too low or if there is no lower age limit at all, the notion of responsibility would become meaningless. In general, there is a close relationship between the notion of responsibility for delinquent or criminal behaviour and other social rights and responsibilities (such as marital status, civil majority, etc.). Efforts should therefore be made to agree on a reasonable lowest age limit that is applicable internationally.
Resolution 40/33 - United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice - "The Beijing Rules" (1985)

The the General Comment no. 10 (2007) Children's rights in juvenile justice, has established that children who commit an offence at an age below that minimum cannot be held responsible in a penal law procedure. Even (very) young children do have the capacity to infringe the penal law but if they commit an offence when below the Minimum Age of Criminal Responsability the irrefutable assumption is that they cannot be formally charged and held responsible in a penal law procedure. For these children special protective measures can be taken if necessary in their best interests.
United Nations.Committee on the rights of the child

Customary norms
Norma consuetudinaria / Normes coutumières
Widespread consistent norms in the state in question, including long standing tribal or indigenous rules that may be known by a large part of the population.
United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. "Manual for the Measurement of Juvenile Justice Indicators" (United Nations, New York, 2008).

Customs that are accepted as legal requirements or obligatory rules of conduct; practices and beliefs that are so vital and intrinsic a part of a social and economic system that they are treated as if they were laws.
United Nations, UNTERM


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    Phone: 00 32 262 988 90. Fax: 00 32 262 988 99. oijj@oijj.org

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