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Relationship Between Street Children and the Justice System in Egypt

NCJ Number
International Journal of Therapy and Comparative Criminology Volume: 53 Issue: 5 Dated: October 2009 Pages: 556-573
Nawal H. Ammar
Date Published
October 2009
18 pages
This article examines the relationship between street children and the justice system in Egypt.
The article synthesizes existing literature, data, and information to examine the role that the Egyptian justice system plays in addressing the growing problem of street children and proposes an approach for the Egyptian justice system to effectively address the problem. Estimates of the population of children living on the streets in Egypt are between 150,000 and 2,000,000. These children are both vulnerable to delinquency and vulnerable to danger. Egyptian law does not effectively distinguish between these broad categories, and police interaction with street children exacerbates the endangerment. Legislation dealing with juveniles is rigid, punitive, outmoded, and not in compliance with a number of international agreements that Egypt has signed. In spite of numerous efforts to improve the conditions and experiences of street children, Egypt does not have a comprehensive juvenile justice system or a juvenile justice strategy. Results suggest three necessary conditions for changing the justice system. First, a comprehensive juvenile justice system must be introduced across all of Egypt, which includes specialized laws, law enforcement, courts, correctional facilities, and reintegration programs. Second, Egypt must develop a juvenile justice strategy committed to reducing incarceration of children. The third condition includes an increased legal and social sensitivity toward the family and school violence that drives children into the streets. This condition constitutes a change in societal norms, where violence against children is accepted. Notes and references