Adding the missing pieces

CLEAR-Rights work to ensure quality legal assistance to child victims

The idea behind CLEAR-Rights is based on a very simple fact: all children in Europe are entitled to quality legal assistance.

CLEAR-Rights aims to recognize and add the missing pieces needed to make quality legal assistance a reality for every child victim, now and in the future.

This is why CLEAR-Rights engages law students as well as practitioners, both as actors and as beneficiaries: not just because we strongly believe in young people's potential, but because we want today's and tomorrow's professionals to be able and motivated to offer children the legal assistance they need, in a child-friendly manner and keeping their rights and needs at the centre of the entire legal proceedings.

For instance, Alliance of Lawyers for Human Rights, CLEAR-Rights partner in France, involved the Aix-Marseille University master students who are part of the Aix Global Justice - Clinique Doctorale de Droit International des Droits de l'Homme, in the analysis of the juvenile justice system in France. The students themselves presented their research during the European Pro-bono week 2021.

Research is indeed the first step of CLEAR-Rights, to gain a deeper understanding of the barriers in accessing quality legal assistance in the focus countries: Belgium, France, Hungary, Romania and The Netherlands.

It showed how, in most countries, child-friendly communications and child-centred and intersectoral approach are not often part of legal curricula or skillsets. This is where CLEAR-Rights steps in, offering training to legal professionals and students alike, both on child justice and how to better communicate with children about their rights and the legal processes. 


CLEAR-Rights trains practitioners, to enable them to offer child-friendly legal aid to children in criminal proceedings.

Inadequate skills or knowledge related to child-friendly proceedings are also caused and exacerbated by the lack of specific professional networks to connect with other practitioners and, even more crucially, with children in need of legal assistance.

Indeed, it occurs that pro-bono lawyers are willing to step in and cover for gaps in state-funded legal assistance but are unable to reach child victims who would benefit from their expertise. 

For this reason, CLEAR-Rights also creates a database for child-justice lawyers and to set up networks and clearinghouses for child justice legal assistance, in collaboration with legal aid departments, law firms, bar associations and civil society.

CLEAR-Rights creates networks for professionals, and to connect pro-bono lawyers with children in need.

How do we know what children need? We ask them!

Clear-RIghts is advised by its Child Advisory Boards members

CLEAR-Rights set up Child Advisory Boards (CABs)  in France, Hungary and Romania. These boards are composed of children between 12 and 23 years old who are or have been in contact with the law and are a cornerstone of the project. In fact, CABs review the project's activities and outputs and offer their unique views on different aspects of the legal journey for a child in contact with the law.

Watch the amazing video "What makes a good lawyer?" produced by CAB members in Hungary about their idea of "a good lawyer" and "a safe place".

Thanks to the CABs, we have invaluable insights on what children's needs and priorities really are, instead of what we assume them to be.

"I was impressed to see how children have much more sensitivity, they offered concrete examples to make environments more child-friendly. We adults didn't think of things like lights and smells, but they did. They are a unique asset for this project."
- Giulia Patane, PILnet

Thanks to their inputs, CLEAR-Rights can "child-proof" its work, and apparently child-friendly materials are even more appreciated than planned:

"Every time CABs produce a child-friendly material, professionals prefer to use that version because children go straight to the point."
- Marcos de Barros, Terre des hommes Europe


The CLEAR-Rights project is co-founded by the European Union Justice Programme and led by Terre des hommes Regional Hub in Hungary, in partnership with Terre des hommes RomaniaPILnetAlliance of Lawyers for Human Rights (France), Defence for Children International (Belgium) and Defence for Children The Netherlands

Watch the video for a comprehensive presentation of CLEAR-Rights and its results during the PILnet Global FORUM 2021.