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Deena Haydon


Deena Haydon

John Pinkerton
Laura Lundy 

Critical analysis of a rights-based approach to children 'at risk of offending' in Northern Ireland

Children in conflict with the law collectively are one of the most marginalised groups in society, often perceived as 'criminals' or 'offenders' rather than 'children' who have frequently experienced very difficult circumstances. Focusing on 8-12 year olds identified as 'at risk of offending', this project will explore how representations, dominant discourses, and interventions concerning these children reflect the reality of their lives - what is important to them, their needs and aspirations; the issues they face; what they think would make a positive difference in their lives; what 'crime' and 'anti-social behaviour' mean to them; their interpretation of adult responses to their behaviour; their understanding about, and experience of, 'rights'. Based on critical analysis of structural and institutionalised inequalities, the project will: consider the promotion and protection of international standards in legislation, policy, and practice; examine the barriers preventing fulfilment of children's rights; and assess the potential of a rights-based agenda in challenging structural inequalities. 

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