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Children and the Law: International approaches to children and their vulnerabilities

International conference

Prato, Tuscany, Italy 7-10 September 2009


The rights and best interests of children in the 21st Century are challenged by new and emerging social concerns. These include: the plight of child refugees, children escaping war and trauma, new forms of child victimization such as children as soldiers, children entering the criminal justice system, the pervasiveness of child sexual abuse, and children harmed by maltreatment and family breakdown. These children require more effective responses from governments and national systems responsible for their care and protection.

This international conference will bring together practitioners, policy contributors, advocates and researchers from welfare, criminology, law, policing, health and mental health. It will examine the vulnerabilities of children and young people and how the systems responding to those at risk of harm must be reshaped to better protect their rights and best interests.

The conference will give particular attention to the following themes:

  • The protection of children under the law
  • Family law and its impact on children.
  • Children as citizens: the vulnerability of indigenous children, the global movement of children, child trafficking, the impact of war and trauma on children
  • Youth justice
  • Health and mental health impacts on children and their intersection with legal processes.

This forum will offer considerable opportunity for cross-national dialogue, keynote presentations, and an emphasis on panel and round-table presentations, together with the opportunity for individual paper presentations that address conference themes.