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Child & Youth Justice – December Legal Training!

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Some of the participants with the facilitators

VoC decided to extend its legal training on Child and Youth Justice within the Malaysian Legal System over the seas to the island of Borneo. The training was held on the 13th & 14th of December at the Grand Margherita Hotel, Kuching, Sarawak. Once again it was facilitated by Dr. Farah Nini Dusuki, a senior lecturer in the Faculty of Law, University Malaya, and a criminal justice and child law expert. Dr. Farah was assisted by her former student, and child rights activist Ms Shamimi Saberi.

Focusing on children and youth in the criminal justice system, the modules covered during the training were the same as the ones in the first two trainings. Participants consisted mainly from the legal profession and a few social workers, who warmly welcomed the training.  The sessions were interactive and fun as participants actively participated in numerous activities like role plays, mediation (family conferencing group), case studies and a moot trial.

Dr. Farah’s extensive knowledge and passion for children was apparent and truly beneficial for this training and she shared her experience generously. Participants also shared their experiences in regards to the topics and gave positive feedback on how they would like to participate in the system more to improve it.  This interaction by everyone increased the impact of the training and gave birth to many more fresh ideas on how to improve the system.

Group Activity

Ice Breaker

 

Some feedback and testimonials from the participants:-

 

“I had a really good time participating and learning from Dr Farah in the 2 day seminar held in Kuching. Being in a room full of lawyers, it wasn’t difficult to grasp the concepts of ‘Diversion’ or ‘Restorative Justice’. I felt that the importance of this seminar was that it brought about like-minded individuals wanting to see a change in child and youth justice in the Malaysian legal system and I sincerely hope with this stepping stone we shall see that change in the not too distant future. ” – Grace Yong

 

“I thoroughly enjoyed the two-day seminar. It was definitely an eye-opener for people like me who had no knowledge of children’s rights at all. The seminar has definitely created awareness on children’s rights and the Juvenile Justice System. The seminar was very well-planned with fun-filled and interesting hands-on activities. Although, I thought the time allocated for the Family Conferencing Group activity was a little short. Other than that, the seminar was very well-delivered and extremely enjoyable. I would definitely participate in similar trainings to come. ” – Jenny Hu

 

“Despite being in the legal line for so many years, I have not really had much encounters with cases of ‘children in conflict with the law’. Yes, a new phrase and description for me so too are Diversion and Restorative Justice! So I was glad to have more exposure at the training to the ideas and concepts behind these terms and phrases.

What I appreciated about this training was that although it was a highly technical kind of subject, the trainer Dr Farah was able to break this down to just delivering the basics thus encouraging and instilling more awareness and interest amongst participants on it. In particular I was glad that she shared with us her experiences and findings of her survey/studies or research into children who have gone through the criminal justice system and ended up in detention/rehabilitation centres around the country. I think and  hope she will be able to get support/funding from government or non-governmental agencies to further her work as well as the training of relevant stakeholders within the system.
It is still such a new idea and concept to every stakeholder in the current system which is ‘highly punitive’ – this one can immediately notice whenever there is furore in the press over statutory rapes that gets highlighted ever so often to the extent that presiding judges/those involved in criminal justice system, feel the pressure. It would certainly be an uphill task to change mind-sets within and without the system.

I was also heartened to see many young lawyers from my small little town, taking an interest and turning up for this training as well as actually wanting to see needed change happening. There is hope yet! It was also great to have those who are currently involved in social work particularly in the area of children coming for this training.” – Ann Teo

 

VoC has applied for funding to continue these trainings in 2014 and 2015 with the aim to reach judges/magistrates and the police in the next round of trainings.

A big thank you to all those who made this training a success, the participants, Dr. Farah & Ms Shamimi for facilitating the sessions and the Advocates Association of Sarawak (Kuching Branch) for assisting in organising the training.  A special thank you goes to Aazina Mujahid Lee for making all of this possible and bringing VoC to Kuching.

 

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