Psychosocial Support for Children: Protecting the rights of child victims and witnesses in transitional justice processes
The paper first looks at psychosocial factors that affect children's participation in transitional justice mechanisms. These factors largely determine children's need for protection and support and can reflect children's responses to their involvement in transitional justice processes. A distinction has to be made between psychosocial factors related to the child and his or her experiences during the conflict on the one side, and factors determined by the type of transitional mechanism on the other. Children's participation in transitional justice processes is influenced significantly by their personal experiences during the conflict; cognitive, social and emotional development; coping skills and social support. These factors influence children's capacity to give an accurate statement, cope with the stress of testifying, be confronted with the accused and deal with cross-examination. These have important implications for the choice of support strategies.
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