ARMENIA: Center Collaborates with Police as Part of the Juvenile Justice in Armenia Program

Summary: A children's center in Armenia will train police representatives on how to properly deal with children who come into conflict with the law.

The process of bring taken under arrest, tried and sentenced for a crime can be immensely frightening and damaging for a child. Police are usually the first point of contact within the juvenile justice system for children who come into conflict with the law. Because of this, there are several key points that need to be addressed, including the role and responsibilities of police. Usually rehabilitation or relevant referrals are not conducted by the police while dealing with children in conflict with the law. Police in Armenia are considered to be punishers as opposed to protectors. This is why the vast majority of juveniles avoid any contact with police, and do not ever turn to them for help. In turn, police are often left alone with the existing problems that are beyond their power.

Having successfully collaborated in the past, the FAR Children’s Center recently hosted 11 members of Armenia’s Police Force who deal with children from different Yerevan communities. The aim of this meeting was to shape a new strategy of collaboration between the police and the Center within the frame of juvenile justice issues. Through the Center’s new Juvenile Justice in Armenia Program, Center staff will train police representatives on how to properly deal with children who come into conflict with the law. They will also work with peers and adults on how to develop new methods of collaboration and establish better lines of communication so that police will refer children in need to the FAR Center when necessary. The program will provide an opportunity for children to have a positive outlook on their lives through a method of early intervention and long-term rehabilitation.

Police representatives talked about the importance of the Center’s great role in this sphere. Executive Director Doctor Mira Antonyan thanked the Chief of the Criminal Intelligence Department for Armenia for organizing the meeting.

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