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The Importance of Analysing the Causes of Juvenile Offending

Analyses of the causes of juvenile crime provide indicators as to the directions for a prevention strategy as well as action at local level. The complexity of causes (or risk factors) and their influence on almost all areas of young people’s lives calls for comprehensive analysis, with a possibility of cross-referencing the results obtained. Clear and generally accepted definitions of risk factors could facilitate prioritisation of preventive actions.

Understanding the risk factors and immediate causes of juvenile crime can contribute to better understanding of the position of children within the system of juvenile justice and could also point to gaps and requirements for improvements in the system.

International standards:

“Comprehensive prevention plans should be instituted at every level of Government and include the following:…

in-depth analysis of the problem and inventories of programmes, services, facilities and resources available….”

“Programmes to prevent delinquency should be planned and developed on the basis of reliable, scientific research findings, and periodically monitored, evaluated and adjusted accordingly.”



UN Guidelines for Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency, Riyadh Guidelines

Examples from international practice

The statutory principal aim of preventing offending by children and young people (drawn up by UK Home Office within the Crime and Disorder Act, 1998), includes interventions that tackle the particular factors that put young people at risk of offending and which, at the same time, strengthen the “protective factors”. A full range of interventions and orders needs to be available locally. Interventions in the community and in custody should reflect the nature and seriousness of the offence and should target the particular causes of the young person’s offending. They should also seek to strengthen those factors and influences which are likely to discourage offending and encourage the young person to use his or her time and opportunities positively. A primary aim should be to re-integrate the young person into the community. Key contributors to this aim are police, magistrates, judges, Youth Offending Teams, social workers, probation officers, health and education workers, and others involved in delivering community and custodial penalties.


The Most Frequently Committed Offences
Data for some of the larger urban areas in BiH indicate that the most frequent criminal offences committed by children are offences against property and major theft (in 2001, 81.4% in Banja Luka and 68.4% in Tuzla) and, to a much lesser degree, criminal offences against the person and other traffic and public order offences. The criminal offences of theft and sale of wood are rather recent occurrences, and point to poverty as a major risk factor.
Generally, it can be said that violent behaviour is less pronounced than crime aimed at financial gain. Although some types of criminal offences committed by minors in BiH are, to a high degree, similar to those in most European countries,12 there is no institution in BiH that is required to undertake analysis of this kind. For example, the proportion of drug trafficking in youth crime rates overall would be a useful indicator for ongoing monitoring of juvenile offending, and this not only in situations when phenomena related to this particular crime attract public attention.

Is Youth Crime on the Rise or Decline in BiH?

Insufficient Data
It has recently been claimed in BiH, mainly in the media, that juvenile offending is on the rise. For example, headlines have mentioned an increase of as much as 300% in some areas (Tuzla). This has caused great concern.

It is not possible to draw precise conclusions about trends in juvenile offending13 in BiH over the last three years because of insufficient data. Data for the Federation of BiH covering the last six years14 indicates a slight decline during that period in terms of absolute values (without comparison of changes in population size).


Official Statistics on Juvenile Offenders in the Federation of BiH, 1996 to 2001

(from the FBiH Statistical Yearbooks, 1997 and 2002)





1996


1997


1998


1999


2000


2001

Juvenile offenders – criminal charges

810

958

900

766

717

644


Accused and convicted juvenile offenders

586

645

575

773

458

554


Convicted juvenile offenders

332

404

330

226

162

274

It is difficult to assess the situation in the Republika Srpska using these same parameters since there is no relevant source of information through which this trend can be followed.


However, some conclusions can be made by reviewing data15 for the largest city in the Republika Srpska (Banja Luka 0.25 million or around 20 per cent of the overall population in the RS) for 1991, 2000 and 2001. In terms of convicted juvenile offenders, there was a decline in 2000 compared to 1999, followed by an increase of 10 per cent in 2001. Available data for other places in the RS16 point to an increase of 5 to 10 per cent over the last three years of juveniles charged with criminal offences.
The assessment of trends in juvenile offending and the evaluation of the juvenile justice system in BiH are limited due to several problems:


  1. Collated data relating to juvenile offences are scarce and generally only show basic categories of juveniles charged, juveniles accused and juveniles convicted.

  2. Data differ depending on the institution compiling them, and as such they are not cross referenced or compared.

  3. Data on individual components are not registered separately.


  4. Information on recidivism is generally not measured or followed up by the police, courts or other institutions.

Analysing these problems individually:




  1. A lack of collated data: The police, the prosecutor’s office, the courts and social care institutions, depending on their respective legal responsibilities, all register and possess various categories of data.17 The Office of the Public Prosecutor possesses the most comprehensive data. None of the stated institutions processes data statistically. Data on accused and sentenced juveniles, categorised by groups of criminal offences and based on sentenced measures and penalties, can be found in the FBiH yearbook, which is issued by the Federation’s Institute for Statistics. Even though a more detailed review would provide better insight, this current practice can be considered as good and modern. In the Republika Srpska, however, quarterly reports published by the Institute for Statistics of the RS do not provide any data related to justice.



  1. Contradictory assessments of the trends in juvenile offending are unavoidable when different institutions deal with various levels and categories of data. The duration of court proceedings, expanding or reducing (jointer) of cases may also add to the imprecision of the picture. Data from the prosecutor’s and judge’s offices may not agree, as data from the prosecutor’s office relates to the number of suspects (i.e. individuals), whereas data from the judge’s office relate to registered cases that may contain several persons/offenders. In addition, an assessment of a small increase at a higher administrative level (entity) may conceal a drastic increase of juvenile offence at local level. This is why special attention should be paid to registration and follow-up of the phenomenon at local level. The latest research study in BiH touching upon the issue of trends,18 also highlights the aforementioned contradictions. According to this study, if data furnished by prosecutors in the FBiH is assumed to be the most comprehensive, juvenile offending in the FBiH in 2001 stagnated or declined (65 per cent of interviewed prosecutors), in comparison to 2000. Yet the same study suggests that 60 per cent of police officers in the FBiH believe that juvenile offending is increasing, and courts report an increase in the number of cases processed in 2001, with concurring assessments by social institutions.





  1. What proportion of juvenile crime is committed by girls, how many girls were sentenced to prison, how many children were kept in detention, how many children without parental care come into conflict with the law, and is the number of offenders below 14 years on the rise? Statistical figures related to these questions are generally not processed or used as indicators for undertaking certain activities.




  1. There are a few institutions within the criminal justice system that monitor figures on recidivism or that maintain statistics on first-time offenders (an example of good practice, however, is the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Sarajevo Canton). The monitoring of recidivism is of great importance, as it points, inter alia, to the effectiveness of court measures, specifically their influence on young offenders. It is thus very useful information for social welfare, justice and education systems.

Irrespective of these problems, which may relate to the organisation and structure of the juvenile justice system in BiH, several factors that may blur the perception of juvenile justice should be taken into consideration:



  • the differences in recognition and reporting

  • the use of data for political purposes and manipulation of various figures

  • a general feeling of insecurity such that citizens go to the police more often, or, conversely, that due to a lack of trust in the ability of the police to deal with crime, citizens are more reluctant to report suspicious cases

  • it is more difficult for the police to control new forms of urban crime, which although experienced by people, are not reflected in the figures (e.g. corruption)


The importance of statistics

One of the critical problems related to juvenile offending at global level is the lack of data. Recommendations made to some countries by the Committee on the Rights of the Child emphasise the need for governments to ensure maintenance of official statistics so that the appropriateness of juvenile justice systems can be evaluated. In particular, such appeals state that “the records on juvenile offending point to confrontation between groups of young men and society, and that it is only the tip of an iceberg hiding more serious and general problems”.19 Maintaining official statistics is particularly recommended in countries that are undergoing a process of law reform.
There are apparent difficulties in measuring trends in juvenile offending in BiH. The need to establish unified systems for a systematic follow-up based on set criteria at local and entity level in BiH has been recognised by various professionals in the juvenile justice system in both entities. For example, the number of minors who have been the subject of a measure or a sanction could serve as one of the simplest and comparable indicators, obtained from the same source (judge). Other important parameters could be compared separately, for example, the number of so-called "rejected reports" for children below 14 years.
One example of good practice is worthy of note. In February 2002, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy of the Tuzla-Podrinje Canton carried out an analysis on juvenile offending in the Tuzla-Podrinje Canton. The Ministry urged that “a single data base at the level of the Canton and its netting into a unique system at the FBiH level” be set up.
International standards:

30.2. Efforts shall be made to review and appraise periodically the trends, problems and causes of juvenile delinquency and crime as well as the varying particular needs of juveniles in custody.

30.3. Efforts shall be made to establish a regular evaluative research mechanism built into the system of juvenile justice administration and to collect and analyse relevant data and information for appropriate assessment and future improvement and reform of the administration.
UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice,

Research, Planning, Policy Formulation and Evaluation.



Examples from international practice:

In the Statistical Almanac for the Republic of Slovenia, one can find data on the number of juveniles for whom the prosecutor’s proceedings have been completed, the number of juveniles who received a measure or sentence pronounced before a Court panel (Senat), and the number of juveniles for each educational measure ordered according to committed offences.

The introductory section refers to the administration of justice, and defines the terms criminal act, defendant, juvenile offender and juvenile offender with a sentence or a measure pronounced. In addition, there is a list of current legal acts which regulate criminality. The introduction specifies that data concerning persons who committed criminal acts is the result of regular statistical research into the administration of justice.

Other Characteristics

Recidivism

Centres for Social Welfare contacted in the Republika Srpska assess the rate of recidivism among juvenile offenders to be around 9 per cent. The 2001 data provided by the Sarajevo Cantonal MUP indicate that 25 per cent of the 227 cases of juvenile crime processed by the Prosecution are related to repeat offenders (recidivists). Since the work of social welfare services includes only some of the measures ordered by the courts (Intensified Supervision of Parents and Intensified Supervision by Centre of Social Care20), these rates cannot reliably reflect incidences of recidivism. Police assessments may be more relevant, but again cannot be taken as final since recorded charges are not confirmed as the same as those recorded by the court. Some Courts,21 in their annual report, present the number of cases involving repeat offenders, but given that this kind of monitoring is not stipulated by law, there is no regular follow-up and reporting, especially not at the level of BiH.

Juvenile re-offending reflects in a negative way primarily on the child and his or her immediate environment. It implies the need for engagement of all stages of the juvenile justice system and its human and financial resources.
The monitoring and research on re-offending that could be undertaken by certain state bodies would point to certain cause-and-effect links and “weak points” in the system that can be tackled, namely:


  • the impact of the duration of a process on the phenomenon of recidivism. It is often the case, in BiH as elsewhere, that a child commits another offence while waiting for a court trial (see the subsequent section, Court – Duration of Court Procedures and the Importance of Accelerating the Process)

  • the effects on recidivism of different measures, including their implementation and duration. (The most important could be the influence of the institutional measures on re-offending.)

Specialists in various institutions believe that interventions would be different and far more effective if analyses were undertaken on the situation of juveniles who re-offend, and particularly on their psychological status and the possibility of rehabilitation and reintegration into society.


International standards:
The UN Guidelines for Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (Riyadh Guidelines), place prevention directed toward decreasing of re-offending within the tertiary prevention. “The Riyadh Guidelines cover measures to prevent juvenile offending on a number of levels. Tertiary prevention involves schemes to avoid unnecessary contact with the formal justice system and other measures to prevent re-offending.”

(From Juvenile Justice, UNICEF, Innocenti Digest 3, January 1998).


Examples from international practice:

Some studies suggest that information gained from analysis is a sound basis for good policy and practice in the juvenile justice system, and they refer in particular to monitoring the impact of certain types of court sentences on the re-offending rate. For example, the influence of detention on re-offending or, which of the educational measures shows the lowest re-offending rate. The Youth Justice Board in Great Britain recommends continuity in work with young people both when in secure facilities and also upon release, to help prevent re-offending.


Juvenile Offending – an Urban Phenomenon
Professionals contacted in the course of this analysis, including police, judges and prosecutors, agree that juvenile offending in BiH is primarily a phenomenon of the big cities. Abrupt and unplanned urbanisation as a consequence of war is thought to have affected particular trends in juvenile offending, and also to have altered the “average” profile of juvenile offenders. Differences can be seen in urban and rural communities when analysing risk factors for children, including the (lack of) availability of services for children at risk.22 Urban areas expose children to a larger number and a wider range of risk factors than rural areas, but do not offer more services. It is essential that prevention programmes take this into account.

Juvenile Offenders and Educational Problems
The link between juvenile crime and education is crucial, and is intertwined in multiple ways. School status and the educational needs of youth appear to be both causes and consequences in juvenile offending, and can put children at risk of coming into conflict with the law.23 To this effect, some experts in BiH hold that the following issues should be considered within a reform of judicial and educational systems, and also in everyday practice:


  • how the absence from school affects rising juvenile offending

  • work of a school pedagogue with children at risk

  • lack of vocational training in secondary school, and the possibility to complete secondary education, for children who have both problems: coming into conflict with the law and losing their right to education, which is often the case
  • educational schemes for children in closed institutions




Victims of Juvenile Crime – Juveniles Themselves
In the case of breaches of the law involving elements of violent behaviour by juveniles, the most frequent victims are juveniles themselves. Police in larger urban areas such as Sarajevo and Banja Luka suggest that the most common forms are threats and physical violence within a peer group, but crimes can include rape and murder. While cases of rape or murder of minors are relatively rare in BiH, (there are no officially processed cases of a rape of this kind between 1997-2000 in the RS, and comprehensive statistics were not available in the FBiH), as a phenomenon with terrifying complex consequences they cannot be ignored.

Are Specific Groups of Children in BiH more likely to Commit Offences - an open question
There are data24 which indicate that certain groups, such as children from refugee families, commit crimes proportionally more often or directly contribute to the rise of juvenile offending in a particular locality.25 This is explained by problems of adapting to a new community, as well as poverty. Data available through social welfare services may be used for detailed analyses, bearing in mind that such use must be closely linked to respect for the rights of the child and for the principles of non-discrimination.

Comparative studies into juvenile offending26 in nine Western European countries point to the higher percentage of children from minority ethnic groups involved in juvenile crime. The same study indicates that the phenomenon should not be viewed as a characteristic “ascribed” to any particular minority ethnic group, but rather that analyses should focus on the poverty, social exclusion and withdrawal into their own sub-culture which may make minority ethnic juveniles more susceptible to becoming members of criminal gangs.

One professional in the Banja Luka Centre for Social Welfare BiH27 highlighted the problems of children with special needs in conflict with the law. While there have been such cases in BiH (though no specific data is available), existing services are considered to be insufficient to meet the needs of these children.

1.2 THE PUBLIC AND CHILDREN IN CONFLICT WITH THE LAW
Perception of Juvenile Crime by BiH Society

There are few indicators available to assess how society in BiH perceives juvenile offending and criminal behaviour. There are no studies in BiH that explicitly research this. It is only through the regular monitoring of developments in BiH undertaken by international organisations that one can draw indirect conclusions.28 According to the UNDP research, between 16.7 and 32.8% of citizens disapprove of the work of judicial bodies which only partially represents the feeling of security of citizens. On this basis, it is not possible to deduce the opinion of the general public on juvenile offending.
Similarly, a review of some statistics on juvenile crime trends may only offer very limited answers. For example, less frequent reporting by citizens of suspected offences or violence does not necessarily indicate a decrease in offending, but may relate to a greater tolerance of violations of social norms.

An increasing interest by the media in juvenile offending, as evident in 2001 and 2002 both in the Federation of BiH and the Republika Srpska, may be the result of concern about more general phenomena (e.g. the brain drain of young people from BiH), or more specific issues (such as trafficking in drugs and drug abuse). An analysis of statistics relating to juvenile offending, such as that carried out in Tuzla Canton, clearly demonstrates that civil servants are greatly concerned about this problem. However, the question remains as to how such an analysis reflects society’s acknowledged concerns about and interest in juvenile offending.

Several media officials interviewed in the course of this analysis agree that the image of young people created by the media is predominantly negative. Young people are directly or indirectly perceived as causing their own problems, whereas society’s responsibilities towards them are not highlighted. There are few articles on juvenile offenders or children at risk that fully depict the complex and difficult circumstances of young people’s lives. In the view of these media officials, attitudes towards juvenile offending are generally too harsh.
These same officials share a common feeling about public “indifference”. They question whether citizens, as a result of war hardships, fail to respond to instances of vandalism, minor theft and indecent behaviour. They also question the extent to which war, displacement, and deteriorating economic circumstances have caused the erosion of norms, and whether citizens are reporting instances of juvenile crime less often. Whether deep social changes are reflected in the public understanding of crime and juvenile offending, or whether such a claim would be an exaggeration is debatable. Several journalists interviewed contend that we can hardly talk about society’s tolerance of violations of social norms. Rather, in their view, the most accurate perception of reality in BiH is that people are totally preoccupied with survival, such that indifference is the basic response. In the words of one respondent interviewed, “There is neither tolerance nor intolerance. People are rarely interested in social phenomena; the same applies to juvenile delinquency… This makes the responsibility of media officials in raising awareness of citizens even greater...”

Experiences of Other Countries – the Importance of Monitoring Public Opinion and of Providing Information to the Public

Numerous research studies (e.g. from Europe and Latin America) indicate that the attitudes towards juvenile offending are often reflected through requests that society should act “more firmly” and should sanction juvenile crime more severely. Some more thorough analyses in these countries speak about the entrenched view of the public when it comes to youth crime, so that often society’s views do not change regardless of changes in the rates of the youth crime. Also, public opinion is often used as an excuse for an increased use of or the introduction of more severe criminal measures.

Monitoring the views of society on juvenile offending is particularly important when legislative reforms are underway or in preparation. Research into public attitudes, and changes therein, may become a powerful means of assessing the success of new measures. It can also indicate the need for changes in the existing range of measures. Messages should be sent to the public about forthcoming changes, but the voice of the public should also be heard. Public debates on the best interests of the child and the state’s responsibilities to protect the interests of the child may serve as a starting point. A well-informed public may become supportive of reforms, bearing in mind that “without investing in debates and discussions, legislation may be changed, but may fail to bring changes in practice”.29


Examples from international practice:

DFID is funding a programme in Russia to establish non-custodial alternatives in pilot areas, with civil society organisations supervising non-custodial sentences. A large component of the programme is focused on influencing public opinion (which tends to be punitive and biased against non-custodial options) through radio, magazine articles and the Internet. Without this, non-custodial measures were likely to prove unpopular with the electorate, resulting in crucial loss of political support.


THE ROLE OF THE MEDIA

The usual Models of Informing the Public on Juvenile Offending

The media mostly deals with this topic when it relates to some wider problem. In specific reports on juvenile offending, the lack of an in-depth approach to the problem is noticeable, whether it concerns a problem perceived in the context of a single institution (generally it is the work of the police which is the subject of comment) or sensationalist reporting on violations of the law. In the opinion of the journalists interviewed, sensationalism is the primary concern, whereas informing the public and raising the awareness of citizens are not even present “between the lines.”

An offence is usually given a high profile, while the child and the background story of the entire case – which could better reflect the factors involved, is neglected. Individual circumstances are not investigated, nor is the event related to risk factors such as poverty, unemployment, and the lack of positive role models.
The term “delinquent” is used regularly in BiH to describe young offenders, and carries a negative connotation for the child and in the understanding of the general public. Moves in other countries to change terminology in this field have not yet been applied here.

Protection of the Child’s Integrity
Press codes30 mention the protection of minors below 15 years of age when it comes to interviewing and photographing children in conflict with the law or those who are victims of crime. According to those involved in drafting these codes, the age limit of 15 years was said to have been taken from similar codes in Western European countries. It is questionable whether this age limit is appropriate for BiH.
The Codes for TV and Radio Programme Editing31 support “standards of decency and kindness, with special attention for protection of interests and sensitivity of children”.
The wider public is almost totally unfamiliar with the existence of both codes. The Independent Union of Journalists of BiH prepared a brochure containing the text of both models, but with a circulation of only 2,000 copies, did not significantly inform the public.

The rules of both codes are generally respected in practice. However, some journalists criticise the lack of control of articles in the so-called “yellow press”. This is where, quite often, juvenile offenders' identities are disclosed in interviews about sensitive subjects, and sensationalism is the main criteria of good journalism.

The Press Council and the Communications Regulatory Agency (CRA, formerly the Independent Media Commission), are responsible for dealing with any violations of the codes. In practice, the Press Council has encountered significant problems in carrying out its functions and, except for some closed circles, it is quite unknown to the wider public as the body in charge of monitoring the objectivity of the press. The CRA has a more active role and the electronic media, as claimed by domestic professionals, is better controlled, which is credited primarily to the international community.
A remark by those placed in the correctional institution “Hum” in Sarajevo draws attention to the impact this practice can have on young people: “They (journalists) only want to make some money out of us”.32

Education of Journalists and Reporters
A manual produced for use by media in BiH33 tackles the issue of the treatment of children in the media. However, there have been few initiatives addressing children's rights in this respect as a specific and separate subject on media courses. Several brief training initiatives targeting journalists, broadcasters and editors have been conducted with the support of the international community.34 Pre-service training for journalism students has been introduced in the FBiH35, and includes topics such as children in conflict with the law.

Towards better and more accurate reporting
According to some professionals, a path towards more accurate and fair reporting in the media such that the public is informed should ensure that:

  • the media with largest coverage of territories, but so-called "local" media as well, is informed by state bodies in a timely manner about the status and trends in important parameters within the system of juvenile offending


  • current and accurate information on the status of children in detention as well as children in correctional institutions and prisons is provided by state bodies and independent observers/local NGOs

  • training is provided for journalists to strengthen their skills in working in the sensitive area of children’s rights and in interviewing children and parents in particularly sensitive situations

  • an initiative is launched to change terminology with the aim of “destigmatising” young people who come into conflict with the law.



International standards:
40. The mass media should be encouraged to ensure that young persons have access to information and material from a diversity of national and international sources.
41. The mass media should be encouraged to portray the positive contribution of young persons to society.
42. The mass media should be encouraged to disseminate information on the existence of services, facilities and opportunities for young persons in society.

UN Guidelines for Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency, Riyadh Guidelines


1.3 CONCLUSIONS – THE CURRENT SITUATION AND GAPS IDENTIFIED

The Current Situation
1. Juvenile Crime – Age, Gender and Type of Offence
The majority of children who come into conflict with the law are aged between 14 and 17 years, with an increasing number below the age of 14. Boys commit around 95% of offences, and girls 5%. Most criminal offences by juveniles tend to be committed against property, and other more severe offences are relatively rare.
2. Risk Factors / Causes of Crime

Deteriorating general conditions, disturbed family relations, problems related to school, influence of and pressure by peer groups, and emotional and social immaturity may be seen as the basic and common risk factors of juvenile offending in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The lack of traditional types of social care and social events for young people combined with the absence of new ones constitutes an additional risk factor affecting the entire adolescent population.

3. Trends in Juvenile Offending in BiH
To substantiate the claims regarding both a decline and rise of juvenile offending at the BiH level, it would be necessary to follow the phenomenon using the same criteria for a longer period of time. Assessments over the last three years indicate that there is neither a drastic decline nor rise, but that an average tendency is that of a mild rise.
4. Recidivism and other Characteristics of Juvenile Offending.
Recidivism, participation of juveniles from specific ethnic groups, the relationship between crime and education, and urbanisation as a war consequence are only some of the elements related to juvenile offending in BiH. In the view of various professionals, these elements should be the subject of a separate and comprehensive analysis.
Gaps Identified


  1. Lack of Adequate Data

Data concerning the number of children within the juvenile justice system are insufficient. Various state services register information on a different basis, without harmonisation or comparison at any level. Data on recidivism are rarely registered, and there is no further analysis or systematic follow-up. The existing data are not classified to facilitate specific interventions or to evaluate service performance within specific institutions or the entire system. Existing data on trends in juvenile offending are not used to evaluate the appropriateness and efficacy of legislative provisions. The recently completed study “Youth in Conflict with the Law in the Light of the Topical Problems Related to Juvenile Criminal Justice in BiH”, draws together some relevant data on the current status of juvenile justice in BiH.




  1. Lack of Research

There are no reports of research undertaken by state services or by institutions in either entity on prevention activities or the efficacy of existing measures. Nor are there any comprehensive studies by authorities at any level concerning risk factors or causes of juvenile offending. This prevents the development of any prevention strategy. Likewise, the causes and effects of recidivism have not been the subject of separate research. Furthermore, there are no recorded studies into the efficacy or implementation of various court measures or the effects of institutional measures and sanctions against minors. There are no analyses on how well juveniles and their parents are informed about procedures within the judiciary system. The few, sporadic existing analyses by state institutions and individuals should be noted, and future initiatives supported.



  1. An Uninformed Public

The public in BiH is neither well educated on this issue nor informed about problems concerning juvenile offending. Official institutions are neither protagonists of the process of education nor of informing the public. The public is mostly informed through the media in a sensationalist manner, be it with warnings about a drastic increase of juvenile crime or through reporting of individual offences. The public is rarely informed about trends in juvenile offending at the local level, and even less often informed about local services dealing with juvenile offenders.


When reports are made about individual cases of juvenile crime, the media does not usually provide sufficient information concerning the life of young offenders. Commonly accepted jargon further contributes to the stigmatisation of children in conflict with the law. The existing codes for the media are known only by journalists and professionals working in the media.

CHAPTER 2

JUVENILE JUSTICE IN BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA – ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES OF INSTITUTIONS



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