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Children and COVID-19 Research Library

UNDER DEVELOPMENT UNICEF Innocenti's curated library of COVID-19 + Children research

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The impact of COVID-19 on children's access to justice
Institution: *UNICEF
Published: January 2021

When children encounter the justice system – as alleged offenders, victims, witnesses or as parties to civil or administrative matters – they are entitled to specialized processes and procedures that are consistent with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international standards. Yet many justice systems are neither child-friendly nor gender-sensitive and often fail to meet the needs or uphold the rights of all children. Evidence from the COVID-19 pandemic – along with previous infectious disease outbreaks – suggests that existing child protection violations are exacerbated, and new risks emerge, in times of crisis. In addition to the adverse impacts of detention and incarceration on their well-being, children risk contracting the virus when detained in confined and overcrowded spaces. They are also more vulnerable to neglect and abuse, especially if staffing levels or care are undermined by the pandemic or containment measures.

The pandemic paused the US school-to-prison pipeline: potential lessons learned

AUTHOR(S)
Sarah Y. Vinson; Randee J. Waldman

Published: September 2020   Journal: The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health
A global pandemic caused society to radically and quickly reconfigure. Schools, wary of the health risks of in-person instruction, shifted to virtual learning. Although not ideal in many respects, this shift placed adolescents in the USA out of the reach of harsh school disciplinary procedures (ie, zero tolerance policies, out-of-school suspensions, expulsions, and law enforcement referrals), contributing to a drastic reduction in juvenile court referrals nationally. The school-to-prison pipeline paused. Characterised by school disciplinary approaches placing adolescents on a trajectory to juvenile and then adult criminal legal systems, this pipeline is most pronounced for Black and Latinx students, students with disabilities, and in schools serving impoverished communities. Although this survey focuses mainly on the USA, this topic has relevance in other societies with public education, substantial income inequality, and racial inequities in their justice systems.
Justice for women amidst Covid-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a global emergency of multiple dimensions. There is now major concern that COVID-19 and its impact will push back fragile progress on gender equality, including slowing progress in reversing discriminatory laws, the enactment of new laws, the implementation of existing legislation and broader progress needed to achieving justice for all. This rapid assessment examines how the impacts of COVID-19 are threatening women’s ability to access justice. It examines the impacts of COVID-19, policy responses as well as outlines policy recommendations for the period ahead. Using a gender lens, the report documents major threats to women’s lives and livelihoods associated with COVID-19 – namely, curtailed access to justice institutions, rising intimate partner violence (IPV), threats to women’s rights to sexual and reproductive health, growing injustice for workers, discriminatory laws and lack of legal identity, as well as repercussions on forcibly displaced women and those deprived of their liberty.

Ensuring access to justice in the context of COVID-19
Addressing COVID-19 is foremost a public health concern. However, the impact of the crisis as well as the legal and policy responses developed by states to counter the spread of COVID-19 have much wider ramifications that affect a broad range of human rights, including the ability of people to access justice in a timely, fair, and effective manner. The crisis also presents specific justice ‘needs’, such as addressing the rise in gender based violence and making additional institutional reforms to strengthen the effectiveness of the justice chain in a radically shifted social context. A key concern is that the economic fallout of the crisis will put many groups in society further behind, including children, women, older persons, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons, displaced populations, stateless people, migrants, asylum seekers, victims of human trafficking, day labourers, and people living at or below the poverty line.
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UNICEF Innocenti's Children and COVID-19 Library is a database collecting research from around the world on COVID-19 and its impacts on children and adolescents.

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COVID-19 & Children: Rapid Research Response

UNICEF Innocenti is mobilizing a rapid research response in line with UNICEF’s global response to the COVID-19 crisis. The initiatives we’ve begun will provide the broad range of evidence needed to inform our work to scale up rapid assessment, develop urgent mitigating strategies in programming and advocacy, and preparation of interventions to respond to the medium and longer-term consequences of the COVID-19 crisis. The research projects cover a rapid review of evidence, education analysis, and social and economic policies.