Data sources: Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, police

Administrative offence: the lowest level of offence, such as vagrancy, truancy, use of alcoholic beverages and, in some cases, vandalism.

Anti-social act/deed/behaviour: the label that is used to differentiate the behaviour that is damaging to the community from the crime that is defined by the law of the government. Definitions vary from country to country and over time, but commonly imply the use of constructive sentences.

Arrest: a child is arrested where he/she is placed under the custody of the police, military, intelligence or other security forces because of conflict with the law. For a juvenile is used the term “taken into custody”.

Charged: a child is charged with an offence when the police, a law enforcement authority, the public prosecutor or a competent authority formally accuses him/her of having committed a specific offence.

Number of children reported being in contact with the police because of their own behaviour: given a written account of total number of children observed by the police because of their problematic behaviour.

Children in conflict with the law: any persons under 18 years of age who have committed or have been accused of having committed an offence. Depending upon the local context, children may also be perceived to be in conflict with the law where they are dealt with by the juvenile justice or adult criminal justice system for reasons of being considered to be in danger by virtue of their behaviour or the environment in which they live. Situations that should usually be included, however, are:

  • Children who have committed or are accused of having committed an offence.
  • Children considered to be “at risk of delinquency” and/or considered to be in danger by virtue of their behaviour
  • Children found in an “irregular situation”, or considered to be in danger from the environment in which they live
  • Children arrested by law enforcement authorities acting for improper reasons
  • Children detained in relation to an application to claim asylum by the child or his or her family

Closed facility: public or private custodial setting (pre-trial facilities and closed facilities following adjudication) in which a person is deprived of liberty (is not permitted to leave at will).

Competent authority: the part of the juvenile justice or adult criminal justice system that is responsible for making procedural or disposition decisions regarding a child’s case.

Convicted: a child is convicted where he/she is found guilty of having committed an offence by the decision of a competent authority.

Correctional Facility: Correctional Facility: a facility for the confinement of individuals accused or convicted of criminal or delinquent activity (also known as prisons or penitentiary facilities). The word “correctional” is used to demonstrate the “rehabilitative” nature of deprivation of liberty.

Crime against children: All crimes committed against persons under 18 years as well as act considered to be crimes when committed against children (typically including child abuse and exploitation) as defined by national law.

Crime (offence): a child commits a crime/offence where he or she commits any act punishable by the law by virtue of the legal system in question.

Violent crimes (against persons): murders and attempts, rapes and attempts, serious bodily injuries, sexual assault or abuse. "One widely used working definition of sexual abuse is that: ‘sexual abuse’ involves any sexual activity where consent is not, or cannot be, given. This includes sexual contact that is accomplished by force or threat of force, regardless of the age of the participants, and all sexual contact between an adult and a child, regardless of whether there is deception or whether the child understands the sexual nature of the activity. [...] The sexual activity may include sexual penetration, sexual touching or noncontact sexual acts such as exposure or voyeurism. [...] Criminal definitions usually specify different forms of sexual abuse, breaking down the behavior into different categories. Thus “sexual intercourse” can include degrees of penetration and different levels of mental intent. “Sexual contact” laws can specify which parts of the body are included and identify activities that are lawfully a legitimate form of child care even though intimate in nature. Similarly “exhibitionism” and “sexual exploitation” are often separately defined in a detailed fashion."

A 2011 ISPCAN publication, p.11 (

It is vital to distinguish between sexual "abuse" and "exploitation". While exploitation automatically leads to abuse by a third party, most acts of abuse do not stem from the exploitative acts of others. The distinction is made reasonably, though not perfectly, clear in CRC Art 34, in which sub-para (a) refers essentially to "abuse" whereas sub-paras (b) and (c) are explicitly concerned with "exploitative" practices.

Property crimes (against property): burglaries, robberies, thefts. Please add notes if property crime has a different definition in your country.

Custodial sentence: a sentence involving deprivation of liberty.

Deprivation of liberty: Any form of detention or imprisonment or the placement of a child in a public or private custodial setting, from which the child is not permitted to leave at will, by order of any judicial administrative or other public authority. This includes any form of residential placement including police lockups, training schools, treatment centres, reform schools, education and re-education centres, remand homes, training centres, specific juvenile facilities, or adult correction facilities, including high-security institutions.

Detention: temporary confinement of an alleged offender pending pre-trial release, court proceedings, or disposition.

Detention institutions: includes police station/police cells, juvenile detention facility, juvenile rehabilitation facility/school, prison (detention facility housing both children and adults, even if separated).

Diversion: A child is diverted where she/he is in conflict with the law but has their case resolved through alternatives, without recourse to the usual formal hearing before the relevant competent authority. To benefit from diversion, the child and/or his or her parents or guardian must consent to the diversion of the child’s case. Diversion may involve measures based on the principles of restorative justice.

Imprisonment: is a penalty imposed by a court under which the individual is confined to an penal facility.

Irregular situation: although it may not be an offence relating to the legality of the entry and/or continued presence of the child and/or his or her family in the country in question, or to the legality of the current place of residence of the child and/or his or her family following internal displacement.

Juvenile: refers to all children aged 14 to 17 years. Whereas the Convention on the Rights of the Child covers all individuals below the age of 18 years, “unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier” (Art. 1), and uses the generic term “children” to describe them, the definition used by the (pre- CRC) Beijing Rules is more open-ended, stating that not set a fixed age but state that, for the purposes of that instrument, “[a] juvenile is a child or young person who, under the respective legal systems, may be dealt with for an offence in a manner which is different from an adult” (Rule 2.2.a).

Juvenile justice system: The juvenile justice system consists of the laws, policies, guidelines, customary norms, systems, institutions and treatment specifically applicable to children in conflict with the law.

Non-custodial measure: A non-custodial measure is a measure to which a child may be sentenced by a competent authority that does not include deprivation of liberty.

Offence (crime): A child commits an offence where he/she commits any act punishable by the law by virtue of the legal system in question.

Serious offence against a person: A serious offence is homicide, non-intentional homicide, kidnapping, rape, sexual assault or abuse, assault or an attempt to carry out of these acts.

Serious property offences: A serious property offence is burglary, robbery or arson, or an attempt to carry out any of these acts. Burglary is unlawful entry into someone else’s premises with the intention to commit a crime. Robbery is the theft of property from a person, overcoming resistance by force or the threat of force.

Theft: Theft is the removal of property without the consent of the owner. Theft excludes burglary and housebreaking.

Open or semi-open (unlocked) institution: a facility where child placement is ordered by a competent authority (court or other official bodies), and from where a child may be permitted to leave for given periods, under certain conditions or subject to specific authorisations but not simply at will.

Positive sentencing: determining a constructive measure whose components are considered most likely to respond effectively to the individual child’s specific needs and circumstances with a view to avoiding his/her future recourse to behaviour resulting in conflict with the law.

Place of detention: any facility where a child is deprived of liberty.

Pre-trial detention: the period when a child is deprived of liberty (in penitentiary institution or police station) between the moment of being formally charged and being sentenced.

Problematic behaviour: exclusion from school, being drunk, runaway, incorrigibility or beyond parental control, and habitual truancy.

Protective custody: the placement of a person by a competent authority with a view to protecting him/her from a dangerous person or situation.

Recidivism: re-offending within a certain period.

Reintegration/rehabilitation: the stated aim of juvenile justice as a whole, including both assisting an offender’s return to the community, as well as addressing “at risk” children to reduce the risk of them committing crimes in the future.

Sentenced: A competent authority passes a sentence when notwithstanding any right of appeal it makes a final decision about a child’s case and rules that the child shall be subject to certain measures.

Sentence: a competent authority passes a sentence when it makes a final decision about a child’s case and rules that the child shall be subject to certain measures.

Sentence type

Measures involving deprivation of liberty

Imprisonment: putting a person in prison or jail or otherwise confine him/her as punishment for committing a crime; it is a penalty imposed by a court under which the individual is confined to an institution.

Placement in locked educational institution: placement in locked specialized educational/ rehabilitation centres; this may be imposed by court as well as other official bodies.

Measures not involving the deprivation of liberty

Fines: aare usually given to juveniles with independent earnings; juveniles may be liable to compensate for any damage caused.

Community service (public work): work on behalf of charity or local community

Corrective labour: a punishment that may be imposed on a juvenile offender at the place of his/her regular employment for a particular length of time. In the course of corrective labour, deductions from the offender’s earnings shall be made in favour of the state in the amount specified in the court ruling within a certain limit.

Disciplinary measure: is a warning; freedom under supervision from parents or guardians; limiting leisure hours. is putting a person in prison or jail or otherwise confining him/her as punishment for committing a crime; it is a penalty imposed by a court under which the individual is confined to an institution

Placement in an unlocked institutions: placement in an unlocked specialized educational/ rehabilitation centre; or making the minor follow a medical course of psychological rehabilitation.

Probation: is a non-custodial measure involving the monitoring and supervision of a child whilst he/he remains in the community. General conditions may include maintaining employment, abiding by a curfew, living where directed, abstaining from unlawful behaviour, following the probation officer's orders and not absconding. This level of supervision requires court disposition and order.


Postponement of sentence (punishment): a delay in the carrying out of a sentence or the making of a decision or judgment. a delay in the carrying out of a sentence or the making of a decision or judgment.

Release from sentencing (punishment): the child/juvenile has been convicted of a crime but deemed to have already sufficiently served his/her sentence prior to trial.

Status offence: is an act or behaviour that is only punishable if the person committing it is aged under eighteen. The three primary types of status offence are runaway, incorrigibility or beyond parental control, and habitual truancy.

Status offenders: are defined as juveniles, who have been accused of, or charged with, conduct which would not, under law, be an offence if committed by an adult such as truancy, running away or underage drinking.

Taken into custody: the status of a juvenile when temporary physical control over the child is attained by a person authorized by law, pending the juvenile’s release, detention, placement, or other disposition as authorized by law. This is similar to an adult arrest.

Temporary accommodation centres: is an institutions that provides emergency care and short term accommodation for children without parental care, including children who are found in vagrancy, beggary and other cases in which there is a need for emergency accommodation. Children in these structures will either be returned to their family or be referred to social services.

Role of a child involved in judicial proceedings:

Offender: A person who commits an offense against the law, a lawbreaker.

Witness: someone called to give evidence in a court

Victim: a person who suffers any other injury, loss, or damage as a result of a voluntary undertaking.

Number of children involved in criminal proceedings during the year: the number of children, not cases, involved either as offenders/perpetrators/accused or victims, witnesses and/or parties to criminal justice proceedings.

When a child is involved in a few criminal acts/ cases, he is recorded/calculated only once.