November 21 2012

Ending corporal punishment in alternative care

21/11/2012 - The Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children has reprinted its report on prohibiting and eliminating all corporal punishment in alternative care and day care.

Photo: Katerina Ilievska
Red light for corporal punishment in any kind of care setting © Katerina Ilievska
The report, originally published earlier this year and now reprinted with updated information on the legality of corporal punishment around the world, is designed to raise awareness about children's right to protection, support the use of human rights mechanisms in campaigning for law reform and provide guidance on the drafting and implementation of legislation which prohibits all corporal punishment.

At least 123 states worldwide have no prohibition of corporal punishment in any form of alternative care or day care. This leaves millions of children, including some of society's most vulnerable, subject to violent and humiliating punishment by those whose role it is to take care of them.

The "Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children in all settings, including alternative care", an initiative supported by many international and national organisations, issued this publication. The report highlights that adults' use of corporal punishment is influenced by habit, tradition and lack of knowledge of alternatives, as well as the legal and social acceptance of this form of violence against children. It claims that adults often argue that children's "bad" behaviour is the "reason" for using corporal punishment. But children's behaviour is never the reason for corporal punishment - it is adults who choose to use corporal punishment, and it is adults' responsibility to stop using it.

The behaviour of children in alternative care due to past violations of their rights may present particular challenges. This does not increase the need for punitive measures; rather it increases the need for training for their carer-givers in positive discipline techniques. The report emphasizes the importance of involving children in efforts to end violence against them. Care settings which are participatory are more likely to be safe and free from corporal punishment and abuse. A system for reporting violence designed by or with children is more likely to be child-friendly, and children living in or being cared for in settings where their views are listened to are more likely to feel able to report their experiences of violence, including corporal punishment.