July 2005

Ending legalised violence against children

The Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children has prepared a reports for the nine regional consultations being held in connection with the UN Secretary General's Study on Violence against Children.  The nine reports review law and policy on corporal punishment and deliberate humiliation of children in the states in each region.  A report on the world-wide situation will be published later this year on the website: www.endcorporalpunishment.org The report on New Zealand was released at the South East Asia and Pacific Regional Consultation held in Bangkok in June 2005 (see the website above).  All states in the region have ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  None has entered reservations on the obligation to protect children from all forms of violence.

Of the 43 countries in the region only one (Pitcairn Island) has taken legal or policy measures to prohibit the use of corporal punishment in the home.  Other details from our region:

15 countries prohibit corporal punishment in schools

34 countries prohibit corporal punishment in the penal system (sentence)

21 countries prohibit corporal punishment in the penal system (discipline)

eight countries have taken some measures to prohibit corporal punishment inalternative care.

There is a long way to go to protect the rights of children in this region.

The report has four recommendations to the regional consultation:

1.  "Explicitly prohibit all violence against children including all corporeal punishment, in the family and in other settings.  This requires repeal of any existing defences that can be used to justify violent punishment and of any laws that authorise corporal punishment in any setting.  Explicit prohibition in sectoral laws applying within the family and to alternative care, schools and the penal system is required to send a clear message.

2.  Ensure that awareness-raising of children's rights to protection and promotion of non-violent child rearing and education and the principles of non-violent conflict resolution are built into all points of contact with future parents and to training of all those working with or for children and families.  Encourage political, community and faith leaders and educators to support this awareness-raising and public education.

3.  Review the extent of violent victimisation of children, including in the family, through interview studies with children themselves, parents and other carers.

4.  Review safeguards to protect children from all forms of violence in the full range of residential institutions and other forms of alterative care, state and private, and implement any necessary improvements."