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The Youthlab project puts the child in the centre of the justice process, not only as an object but as a participating subject. Justice professionals are trained in child-friendly communication skills through a child participation based model called Youthlab. Youthlab is an evidence-based practice developed in the Netherlands that involves (ex) detained youth and uses creative methods to increase the communicative skills of justice professionals. Consequently, children feel taken more seriously and feel more in control over their own case and life.

The Overall Objective is to contribute to the capacity building of juvenile justice professionals, in Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands, using a child participation based training model assuring increased child-participation during judicial proceedings and to roll out evidence-based supports for children involved in criminal judicial proceedings.

The main outcome of the project is to increase the child-friendly communication competences of justice professionals in the Netherlands, Belgium and Italy to guarantee upholding the rights of children in criminal justice proceedings, specifically the right to participation. Finally, the project aims at structurally embedding child participation based training models in the formal curricula of justice professionals.

The project starts with assessing the needs of the target groups. Project partners are trained in implementing Youthlab, developing training projects, train (ex-detained) youth on training justice professionals, and finally start training justice professionals. In order to contribute to structural change in the justice system the project builds relations with policy makers and formal justice training institutes aimed at including Youthlab trainings in formal curricula. The project organises learning events to share new insights and create an online training toolkit which will be accessible for all interested organisations from European member states.


  • Young in Prison - the Netherlands 
  • University of Leiden - the Netherlands
  • Defence for Children International - Italy
  • Defense des Enfants International - Belgique

eu flagThe project is co-funded by the Programme Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) of the European Union. The content of the Project and its deliverables, amongst which this webpage, represents the views of the author only and is his/her sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains. 

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