The University of Cardiff Law School hosted an immersive simulation experience in support of children's rights, with leading global law firm Baker McKenzie, on May 27th. The project was developed together with child law experts from the Youth law Center in The US, and The Global Initiative on Justice with Children, which reaches around the world.

This simulation took place a week before Baker McKenzie hosted it again at the World Justice Forum, at The Hague, for an audience from across the globe at the largest gathering of human rights advocates in the world. This was followed by a simulation for Accenture on June 2, at their Dublin Innovation center, and another at the European Youth Homelessness conference (FEANTSA) on June 3.

The Youth Justice Experiential Learning Simulation, "In My Shoes" was the first-of-its-kind shining a light on the child justice system in Wales.  

The events, hosted in collaboration with Terre Des Hommes and the Youth Law Center in California, were attended by NGOs, academics and government officials is part of the Firm's efforts to "reinvent" the way child advocates, child lawyers, judges, social workers, case workers, law enforcement and regular citizens, understand the systems that youth must navigate in difficult times. 

The simulation put every participant 'in the shoes' of a young person engaging with our systems that aim to address the needs of children and youth. Many of these young people have experienced high levels of trauma, violence, instability, and loss. Using integrative teaching and simulations developed in collaboration with young people with lived experience, the simulation explored what it is like to move through various services and systems, including education, foster care, juvenile justice, homelessness, and more. 

Participants were given a short orientation and then spent the bulk of the simulation in their player role as children attempting to navigate support systems. This was followed by a robust reflection session as a group and individually with a focus on practical policy solutions to help reform our systems through the experiences of the most vulnerable young people
Angela Vigil Partner and Executive Director of Baker McKenzie's Pro Bono practice, said: 

"We are so excited to bring a model we have been developing with thought leaders in child rights to the global stage.  Reflecting on almost 20 years of impactful child advocacy pro bono work focused on access to justice, individual representation and transforming child justice systems, this experiential learning effort is part of an effort to reimagine what youth see in the systems of justice they are forced to navigate. We are delighted to work with the University of Cardiff and the World Justice Forum to demonstrate how we can better support children's as they are navigating challenges like limited shelter options, overburdened and under-resourced child welfare systems and criminalization of youth experiences."

You can read some reflections from Angela after the World Justice Forum, here.

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