Juvenile Justice in Colombia - BICE - ONG de protection des droits de l'enfant

Juvenile Justice in Colombia

In Colombia, juvenile justice is governed by the 2006 Code on Children and Adolescents. This code defines the following: The age of criminal liability, set at 14 years of age (13 years in France) The right to rehabilitation and social reintegration for children in conflict with the law Adapted teaching measures, differentiated from methods for adults. The ICBF (Colombian Family Welfare Institute) also offers strategies and methods for the implementation of socio-educational measures for children in conflict with the law. In Colombia, 15,474 children were deprived of liberty in 2004 . Of this group, 99 % of those aged between 12 and 18 years of age were living below the poverty line. The criterion for depriving an adolescent of his liberty is not the gravity of the offense, but his family, social and economic status.  



BICE acts for restorative justice

In Colombia, BICE works with the Tertiary Capuchins. Thanks to its expertise in juvenile justice, our partner was appointed by the ICBF to act in eight different prisons.

The activities of our Childhood without bars programme are based on the National Ten-Year Plan for Childhood and Adolescence and on the Code on Children and Adolescents.

The aim is to prioritize the prevention of juvenile delinquence, the application of non-custodial socio-educational measures and the promotion of socio-familial reintegration for children in conflict with the law.


  • Implementation of a free school for children in conflict with the law.
  • Children who complete a non-custodial sanction can take a diploma course with a social worker
  • Home visits to parents of children in open detention, to facilitate the child’s socio-educational rehabilitation
  • Workshops on diversion methods and alternative methods to imprisonment, held with member of the legal profession.
  • Workshops on juvenile justice for juvenile police officers
  • Organisation of a seminar with members of the Colombian juvenile justice system, on the role of social workers in the psychosocial support of children in conflict with the law
  • Workshops with families and relations of children in conflict with the law, based on the educational campaign : “restorative teaching”
  • Round tables held with members of the judiciary, civil society and public authorities, on the technical and ethical criteria for psychosocial support of children in conflict with the law and on children’s rights
  • Organisation of two awareness campaigns with 150 media and members of civil society (radio commercials, posters)

Key figures per year

  • 250 adolescents in conflict with the law
  • 250 members of the family circle of minors (parents, teachers, communities…)
  • 180 members of the juvenile justice system (judges, personnel, judicial police …)
  • 100 social workers from closed detention centres

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