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Expert: Set Up Family and Juvenile Courts to Protect Minors

To better protect minors – especially from school violence – education departments should develop an anti-bullying guide, and juvenile family courts and procuratorates should be set up.

By Xu Mouquan Updated Mar.6

Minors can be better protected through increasing the efforts of education departments in preventing school bullying and by setting up joint family and juvenile courts and juvenile procuratorates, according to Tong Lihua, director of Beijing Children's Legal Aid and Research Center, during a February interview with Legal Daily.

Based on the school bullying cases that have recently come to light, the newspaper reported, campus bullying has consistently drawn inadequate attention from both schools and educational administrative departments, so that the vast majority of them lack both the experience and mechanisms to prevent and handle such cases. 

In response, the Ministry of Education, in conjunction with eight other government departments, published a document last November, requiring, among other things, that a guide to preventing and controlling school bullying and violence be developed by schools. 
Tong, however, argued that education departments, not schools, should be in charge of developing such a guide, as schools specialize in the imparting of knowledge and lack experience in handling school bullying. 
“Education departments should invest more manpower, funds and resources into developing such a guide, while improving the training of school teachers and related staff in this regard, so as to make schools more effective at dealing with school bullying,” the director said.

In addition, joint juvenile and family courts should be set up to better protect minors, according to Tong. Misconduct by minors is closely related to family environment, argued the Legal Daily. Therefore, if all cases related to minors and marriage could be handled in one place, it will be more conducive to mediating family conflicts and protecting the legal rights and interests of minors. 
As minors are impulsive yet can be rehabilitated, Tong argued, juvenile procuratorates should be set up to better protect, influence and care for minors, so that juvenile offenders can return to society more smoothly.
Setting up juvenile procuratorates helps integrate prosecuting resources, advances the handling of juvenile cases and gives more emphasis to the role of professionals in the protection of minors, according to the director. 
Tong noted that Beijing could be the first place in China to pilot two such institutions, since the city has accumulated valuable experience in the running of specialized courts and cultivated a strong, professional team specialized in juvenile and family cases.