|Court labyrinths cause inconvenience among the children.For children faced with judicial authorities is a hard and traumatic experience. They don’t understand the procedures that take place in front of the police or the court. This is the reason why more and more children keep quiet about the abuse that they experience, warns the First Children's Embassy in the world “Megjashi”. |
I went into the store, he pulled me towards him, started touching me and asked me to do the same to him. I was scared and after much struggle I was finally able to pull away from him and escape.
This is the version of the situation that a 13 year old girl from Prilep presented to the court, who is a victim of attack from her neighbor who lives only one home away from her own.
- I was scared but I felt like I had to and wanted to speak in front of the court. I did this because I didn’t want one more child to have to experience what I did – says the girl.
She is one of the few that gathered their strength in order to openly communicate with the police, offender and the judge.
From the First Children's Embassy Megjashi say that the most common experience of children facing the judicial authiorities is a hard and traumatic experience. The children don’t understand the steps that are taken in front of the police or the court and are scared of new situations and from unfamiliar faces. Because of this more and more children keep quite about the abuse that they have been exposed to.
- The children are ashamed to talk about what has happened. Sometimes they feel scared or lost. Sometimes they feel guilty and alone and they are scared that will be unable to achieve the expectations of their elders. They don’t have trust in the institutions because they think that they won’t be protected or cared about. The lack of trust, being scared and unknown future force the children to keep quite- according to “Megjashi”.
This is what happened to the 13 year old girl from Prilep, who because of being scared from the judge didn’t automatically tell her parents about what her neighbor had done to her.
- I found out what happened to our daughter from the letter she wrote and gave to us. In the letter, she described the whole event, but because she was scared she was unable to reveal all of that in a conversation, so the letter for her was the easiest way to reveal all of her feelings. As parents we are fulfilled by the just legal authorities, even though there wasn’t a present psychologist in the police, and at the last court hearing, and because of the recommendation of the psychologist for my daughter not to be present, she has to come because of the request of the offender’s lawyers. –tells Rocka, the mother of the girl.
The strength or fear of the child to appear in the court depends on their age. From that a large extent depends on the success of the procedure, considers the psychologist Mirjana Jovanovska-Stojanovska. According to her, the parents are those who present a picture in front of their child about what it means to go in front of a court and why it is important to believe in the justice authorities.
- The parents have to explain to the child the procedure and reason for the invite to court. So that they can introduce the child the situation which they will encounter in the court, so that they can be prepared for the questions that will be presented by the judge. The child needs to feel accepted and safe from the parents or the psychologists that works with them, so that it can be explained to them that they are not the only child that has been to court. They have to know that it is okay for them to cry, to be upset or nervous and for them to have full trust in the parents, and to trust in their support and protection. –says Jovanovska-Stojanovska.
The judge Julijana Jocifovska, the head of the department for young in the criminal court Skopje 1, says that the success of one court procedure depends on how the judge will approach the child, because it is common for the children to distance themselves from the judge because feel scared to speak about the problems in front of their parents.
It is hard to work with young people, because they are a part of a specific period in their lives, when they grow, develop and form their characters. They are often scared of the courts, and at moment don’t understand the presented questions. It happens that the young that performed the criminal act doesn’t want to speak about it in front of their parents. Because of this it is most important that the young has trust in the judge. Our order is not to punish the youth, or to bookmark these people, but to re-raise and raise the youth- says Josifovska.
The book “I am going to court: issued in Macedonian
For easier handling with the presence of the children in front of the court and for determining the truth in the court system, the CHILDREN"S EMBASSY MEGJASHI ” translated and issued the book “I am going to court” from Marija Kepler Hamela. The basic part of the book is to introduce the child to the judge with which they will meet in the court and to prepare them for the participation in the court discussions. In the book the court is described like a big building with many rooms, in which the child needs to tell the truth. The judge is described as a person who decides what is going to happen to the people who did something bad. The book teaches the children that they must speak the truth in front of the judge about something they saw or has happened to them, but also that they also may not answer if they choose, and that they are able to ask for the questions to be explained. If they feel sad, they are even allowed to bring with them their favorite toy or any other subject.
Translated by: Sani Stevkovska