Author(s) Diana Marisa Gonçalves de Barros
Advisor(s) Margarida Santos
Synopsis When a minor whose age lies between 12 and 16 years old commits a typical and unlawful act he is subject to a specific process where he may face a punitive-educational measure. The Child Protection Education Act (Lei Tutelar Educativa) enshrines, for young offenders, a distinct regime from the general criminal action with the aim of protecting the minors. With the same objective, it provides for the possibility of recourse to the figure of mediation. However, in practice, this method is rarely used and is lacking specific regulation. This is one of the reasons that encouraged us to study this issue. We want to question, understand and perhaps point out some solutions to overcome the constraints detected on the application of mediation within the juvenile justice system. Our dissertation’s main desideratum is the analysis of the mediation method as a model of restorative justice. In fact, even if the legislator displayed receptivity to the inclusion of restorative features by introducing mediation in the Child Protection Education Act, one must wonder if and how mediation fits into the model of restorative justice. We cannot forget that from the perspective of the tutelary intervention, the priority is to educate the child to the law and to allow him or her a dignified and responsible reintegration in society. Nevertheless, there is also the need to understand if the victim’s interests are being properly protected since after being sidelined for a long time, they are finally reappearing as one of the main of concerns of the criminal policy. Our proposal is to reflect on mediation as a manifestation of restorative justice aiming to realize its details and why it is sparsely used. Our starting point is the premise that juvenile justice is a fertile ground for the development of means of alternative dispute resolution which can benefit the young offender, the victim and the community in general.
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