Formal Mechanisms of Justice-Seeking in the Eyes of Children

Wednesday, 13 July 2016: 11:15
Location: Übungsraum 4A KS (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Zeynep KILIC, Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey
Melda AKBAS, Istanbul Bilgi University, Turkey
This study focuses on children’s knowledge concerning and possibility to use formal mechanisms of justice-seeking, which are, at least supposedly, open to children, for the purpose of protecting their own rights. The importance of the study is that it’s carried out by both adult and children researchers. Therefore the planning and execution the study was based on the principles of child participation.

The study has 4 basic questions, which were set by the adult researchers, as follows:

-       Do the children know mechanisms of justice-seeking?

-       Can they access to these mechanisms?

-       Can they exercise such mechanisms?

-       What types of mechanisms would they prefer?

The adult researchers also planned the study for a 5-week period, each weekly session lasted 1,5 hours. For their voluntary participation, all the information was shared with the students of 7th grade of a secondary school in Istanbul.12 students volunteered.

The first two sessions were designated for empowering the children researchers on justice-seeking mechanisms and doing research. After that, they decided to divide into 2 groups by their interests. While a group made a survey to obtain information from their school friends about justice-seeking, the other group experienced the mechanisms via phone and internet, to see how it works. During this process, the adult researchers only facilitated the study.

The results of survey, 115 students participated from 5th to 8th grades, showed that children rarely know methods of justice-seeking and very rarely believe that these methods work for them. The experience of children researchers on application via phone or internet confirmed that projection. Claiming personal information, using “adult” language and hierarchic approaches made applications difficult for children to complete. The alternative mechanism they demanded based on their need to an easily accessible tool, both physically and qualitatively.