Photo by Will Baxter – Burundi  © Terre des Hommes Lausanne 

Justice for children still remains a sensitive or hidden issue from the public sphere. When the issue is addressed in public debates simplistic solutions, such as detention, are still seen as the automatic best solution, usually applied without duly exploring alternatives. Today, we know that the punitive approach does not bring neither short nor long-term societal solutions, but generally violates the rights of the child in conflict with the law.


More than 1 million children are imprisoned worldwide. (Unicef)

Restorative Juvenile Justice is about an educational, psycho-social and reintegration approach to justice. It is an approach that gives children the opportunity to reintegrate in society rather than placing them in detention. Restorative juvenile justice therefore favours solutions that repair damage, reconcile the parties involved, place responsibility on youth and restore harmony in the community.

Juvenile Justice at Terre des hommes. from Terre des hommes on Vimeo.

Our interventions aim to:

  • Assist children in conflict with the law
  • Train judiciary and authorities
  • Promote alternatives to detention
  • Advocate for child-friendly justice systems
  • Reintegrate children in their communities



Strengthening Justice Systems for Children: Challenges, including disengagement from violent extremism.

UNESCO House, Paris
28, 29, 30 May 2018

The World Congress on Justice for Children, corganised by a consortium of international organisations, including Terre des Hommes, this year will address three major issues:

  • The global trend towards children’s involvement in violent extremism and possible responses,
  • The need for more effective ways to reduce juvenile offending and recidivism,
  • How to improve protection mechanisms for vulnerable children, including early prevention.

Register HERE



Latin American Region:

Terre des Hommes is a driving force for the introduction of justice systems in Latin America that are based on the best interests of children and their communities. We advocate for alternative measures of punishment and use education and vocational training to reintegrate young people into society and to give them a future outside of crime.

TDH also provides training to the main actors in the justice system, such as judges, police, prosecutors and prison staff to adapt the system to the needs of children and to ensure adequate treatment of children in conflict with the law.

Read more here


TDH’s Justice for Children programme in Palestine seeks to decrease the number of children in police custody and/or closed rehabilitation centres and to provide alternatives to detention to children and adolescents. After months of lobbying, for the first time the formal system in Gaza and ultimately a judge signed on an official document indicating that children would receive a vocational training instead of detention. Now, thanks to our efforts, there is a mechanism in place to apply alternatives to detention in Gaza.

Read more here


The PRO-JUS (Procedural Rights of Children Suspected or Accused in Criminal Proceedings in the EU) project had the overall aim to ensure that foreign children suspected or accused in criminal proceedings benefit from the procedural guarantees they are entitled to. A handbook for legal practitioners was produced based on the findings of the project. The purpose of this handbook is to help criminal justice practitioners ensure that cases involving foreign child suspects are dealt with in accordance with European legislation.