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Jun 30, 2015

UNICEF Opens Child-Friendly Family Court

The Supreme Court, with support from UNICEF, officially opened Punta Gorda’s first child-friendly Family Court. In release issued, the child-friendly court is hailed as “a leading milestone and part of the strengthening and establishment of a child-friendly justice system in Belize.” The new building is designed for children and includes play rooms as well as interview rooms with video link equipment. The technology will be used by those working in the court to ensure the safety of the children, as well as to avoid exposing them to their alleged attackers for the children to be less traumatized. The child will be in a separate room with a social worker while being questioned by the magistrate, defense lawyer and prosecutor. Ivan Yerovi, UNICEF Belize Representative, said, “While this inauguration marks an important advancement in the child justice reform in Belize, we want to emphasize that it is part of an ongoing progress that not only will serve to protect children within the legal system, but also contribute towards reducing the level of impunity in crimes committed against children all over the country.” Speaking of the significance of the court, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin added that the spirit of the Family Court legislation is now given new significance and that for the first time, Family Court matters will be dealt with outside of Belize City.

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