Published by Save the Children uk, Bosnia and Herzegovina Programme

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Alternatives to Custody

After a child or young person has committed an offence, instead of being sent to an institution, secure accommodation or prison they are dealt with in the community, they do not lose their liberty (see also Non-Custodial).

Community Service

One method of dealing with offenders which keeps them out of prison and involves some work for the community.

Criminal Responsibility

The age at which a child can become liable, under the national legislation of a country, for prosecution.


Once a young person has committed an offence, the process whereby they are ‘diverted’ from, the formal criminal justice system.

Enabling legislation

The technical term whereby a country passes national laws which reflect an international convention it has signed.


Being placed in prison, secure accommodation or an institution.

Justice Systems

Can be ‘formal’ - which follow a pattern of arrest, charge, court appearance and sentence, or ‘informal’ such as community justice and traditional systems.


The word to describe a person in conflict with the law who is not considered to have reached the age of majority within the national legal definition. The Commentary to the Beijing Rules states that, “This makes for a wide variety of ages coming under the definition of ‘juvenile’, ranging from 7 years to 18 years or above. Such a variety seems inevitable in view of the different national legal systems.”

Juvenile Justice

The term is used to describe children and young people (usually up to the age of 18) who have been involved in criminal justice systems. This term is also referred to as Children’s Justice.


A sentence, or a decision by a court, which does not involve a young person losing their liberty (see also Alternatives to Custody)


The legal term to describe a criminal act such as theft, assault, damage, fraud etc.


The legal term to describe a person who has committed a criminal act such as theft, assault, damage, fraud etc.

Pre-trial detention/Remand

When a person is charged with committing a crime and is then placed in jail, prison or institution to wait for his/her trial, he/she is termed as being ‘on remand’. Prisoners on remand have not had their case heard in court and so no finding has been made on guilt or innocence.


Programmes which help to stop children and young people from committing offences and getting into crime.

Prevention - Primary
- Secondary

- Tertiary

primary prevention: policies and proposals designed to prevent the conditions which give rise to offending behaviour;

secondary prevention: identifies high risk groups and comes up with specific strategies focusing on these groups in order to reduce the likelihood of their offending;

tertiary prevention: involves programmes which target individual offenders to reduce their re-offending.


The likelihood of offending again after being caught and sentenced.

Restorative Justice

The process whereby the victim and the person who has committed the crime agree on an appropriate way to make the victim feel their position has been ‘restored’ to that before the offence was committed. It can involve some sort of compensation from offender to victim or the return of goods taken and, which is particularly effective, it can involve face-to-face meetings between victim and offender in a safe environment

Risk Factors

Those aspects of a child’s and young person’s life which may lead to them committing offences.

Socialisation of Children

How children learn what is acceptable and what is not acceptable in their society.

Traditional Systems

Systems of dispute resolution or justice which have been used by communities in a country either before a formal, court based, system has been put in place or running alongside formal systems especially in rural areas.


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