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Ending the Physical Punishment of Children


'Corporal punishment is the use of physical force with the intention of causing a ... of the child to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Ending the Physical Punishment of Children

Ending the Physical Punishment of Children
  • Sdim Curo Plant! Children are Unbeatable! Cymru

What Children Say
  • It makes you feel sad (girl 8)?
  • It burns your bottom (boy 5)?
  • Its horriblepainful (girl 9)?
  • Feel like youre gonna die (girl 6)?
  • Feel ill (boy 6)?
  • Inside your body hurts (girl 6)?
  • (Children Talk About Smacking, SC 2003)?

Purpose of Presentation
  • To provide information on
  • the issue of physical punishment of children
  • The current legal position in the UK
  • Promote discussion answer questions
  • Discuss ways you or your organisation could
    support the No Physical Punishment message

'Sdim Curo Plant! Children Are Unbeatable!
  • Set up in 2000
  • Part of a UK wide campaign/alliance of
    individuals organisations
  • Campaigning for
  • 1. Legal change - removal of reasonable
    punishment defence
  • 2. Promotion of positive non violent methods of
    managing childrens behaviour - no physical

The Priority for this Group
SCP! CAU! Supporters
  • 45 groups/agencies including
  • Royal College of Paediatrics Child Health
  • North South Wales Child Protection Forums
  • 4 ACPCs
  • 7 Womens Aid Groups Welsh Womens Aid
  • 400 individuals including
  • 27 Welsh Assembly Members
  • 12 MPs
  • Childrens Commissioner

Current Legal Position
  • Children are the only group of UK citizens who
    can be legally hit
  • reasonable punishment is a defence against a
    charge of common assault
  • reasonable chastisement is old common law
    defence dating back to 1860 which was replaced as
    part of the Children Act 2004, came into force on
    Jan 15th 2005
  • 10 Welsh MPs voted for the clause (defeated)
    which would have given equal protection for

Common assault for children is
  • The vulnerability of the victim, such as when the
    victim is..a child assaulted by an adult (so
    that where an assault causes any of the injuries
    referred to in sub-paragraph (vii) above, other
    than reddening of the skin, the charge will
    normally be assault occasioning actual bodily
    harm, although prosecutors must bear in mind that
    the definition of assault occasioning actual
    bodily harm requires the incident to be more than
    transient and trifling)

Why Legal Reform? (1)?
  • Cases since the Human Rights Act October 2000
  • Father hit 4 year old. son across the back with a
    belt 3times, causing bruising, for not being
    able to write his name acquitted reasonable
    chastisement (2001)?
  • Father hit 12 year old. girl in the face -
    swelling and difficulty in moving her jaw. I did
    it for her own good. I know how to take a mans
    head offIt was a small slap. Acquitted. Judge
    said his actions were wholly justifiable (2001)?

Why Legal Reform? (2)?
  • The Crown Prosecution Service indicated 12 cases
    between January 2005 and February 2007 where the
    defence of Reasonable Punishment had been used.
    These had usually resulted in acquittal or

The Purpose of Legal Reform
  • Is to give children equal protection under the
    law as that enjoyed by adults
  • Is NOT to criminalize parents
  • Is to protect children
  • Is to promote healthy relationships
  • Is to reduce conflict within and outside the home
  • Is an example of using the law as an educational

Physical Punishment - a research definition
  • Corporal punishment is the use of physical force
    with the intention of causing a child to
    experience pain, but not injury, to correct or
    control his behaviour. This definition mentions
    the intention of causing a child to experience
    pain for 2 reasons. The first reason is to
    distinguish it from acts that have other purposes
    but that also may cause pain, such as putting
    antiseptic on a cut. The second reason is to make
    clear the fact that causing pain is intentional,
    not a side-effect.
  • (Strauss 1996)?

Research 1 Linking Physical Punishment and
Physical Abuse
  • Examples of growing evidence of a connection
  • NSPCC 1980-89 most prosecuted abuse began as
    ordinary punishment that went too far
  • Canadian incidence study 1993 85 of all
    substantial cases of abuse involved punishment
  • Durrants Swedish study 1999 after the ban on
    parental corporal punishment, child deaths at
    parents hands fell from 1 per year to 1 in seven
    years compared with 1 per week in the UK

Research 2 Effects of physical punishment - a
meta-analysis of 88 studies
  • Increased aggression as child adult
  • Less capacity for empathy
  • Less internalisation of moral aspects of
  • Increased probability of antisocial criminal
    behaviour in adulthood including spousal and/or
    child abuse
  • Evidence of compromised mental health
  • Some increase in immediate compliance - least in
    ages 2-6 and amongst boys
  • (E.Thompson Gershoff, 2002)?

Research 3 Wide-ranging results of childhood
  • Five times the rate of non-compliance amongst
  • A four-fold increase in severe assaults on
  • Double the rate of physical aggression amongst
    six-year olds against other children in school
  • Significantly more chance of 4-year olds failing
    to fulfil the cognitive potential they displayed
    at 1 year
  • An 84 increase in the likelihood of violent
    behaviour in adolescence
  • (Various)?

Research 4 Positive effects of not using or
of giving up physical punishment
  • Where ADHD aggression co-exist, changing
    violent/coercive home discipline deals with the
    conduct disorder.
  • (Paterson 2001)?
  • The only children whose aggressive conduct was
    not improved by a special programme were those
    whose mothers used violent discipline at home.
  • (Webster Stratton 2001)?

Context 1 United Nations Convention on the
Rights of the Child
  • 191 countries have ratified. UK in 1991
  • Article 19 - protect from physical
    violencemaltreatment..from parents, guardians,
  • Article 24 - take measures to abolish..
    traditional practices prejudicial to the health
    of children

Context 2 United Nations Convention on the
Rights of the Child
  • UN Committee on CRC 2nd Report on UK
  • with urgency remove reasonable chastisement
    defence prohibit all corporal punishment in the
  • promote positive, participatory and non-violent
    forms of discipline and respect for childrens
    equal right to human dignity and physical
  • (October 2002)?

Context 2 United Nations Convention on the
Rights of the Child (continued)
  • On 2 June 2006, the UN Committee on the Rights of
    the Child issued a General Comment on The
    right of the child to protection from corporal
    punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of
    punishment. The authoritative Committee
    emphasizes that eliminating violent and
    humiliating punishment of children, through law
    reform and other necessary measures, is an
    immediate and unqualified obligation for states
    which have ratified the Convention on the Rights
    of the Child.

Context 2 United Nations Convention on the
Rights of the Child (continued)?
  • The above UN general comment followed the report
    of the United Nations Secretary-General's Study
    on Violence against Children (August 2006) which
    called on all countries to prohibit all corporal
    punishment in the family, at school and
    everywhere else by 2009.

Context 3 Europe
  • European Convention on Human Rights
  • Article 3 - no one shall be subjected to
    inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment
  • 1998 - A-v-UK Case, UK found in breach of
    Article 3
  • European Social Charter
  • Article 17 requires a prohibition in
    legislation against any form of violence against

Context 4 Other Countries
  • 23 Countries have introduced principled legal
    reform to ban smacking
  • Austria(1989) Bulgaria (2000) Costa Rica
  • Croatia(1999) Cyprus(1994) Denmark(1997)
  • Finland(1983) Germany(2000) Greece (2006)
  • Hungary (2005) Iceland(2003) Israel(2000)
  • Latvia(1998) Netherlands (2007)? New Zealand
  • Norway(1987) Portugal (2007) Romania (2004)
  • Spain (2007) Sweden(1979) Ukraine (2004)
  • Uruguay (2007) Venezuela (2007)?
  • http//www.endcorporalpunishment.org

  • 1979 Sweden is first country to ban smacking
  • public support for physical punishment 53(1965)
    to 11 (1994)?
  • no increase in prosecutions
  • decreasing number of children into care
  • evidence of parents seeking help earlier
  • no increase in anti-social behaviours
  • (A Generation Without Smacking - SC 2000)?

Public Opinion
  • 58 support law reform if sure parents not
    prosecuted for trivial smacks
  • 97 say parents should not be allowed to
    physically punish babies (under 18 mths)
  • Parents hit themselves more likely to use
    physical punishment (70)
  • 79 parents feel upset after hitting their child
  • 40 parents think smacking is ineffective
  • P. Cawson, Child Maltreatment in the Family,
    NSPCC, 2002.

What Children Say
  • It makes you feel sad (girl 8)?
  • It burns your bottom (boy 5)?
  • Its horriblepainful (girl 9)?
  • Feel like youre gonna die (girl 6)?
  • Feel ill (boy 6)?
  • Inside your body hurts (girl 6)?
  • (Children Talk About Smacking - SC 2003)?

Governments' Attitudes
  • Westminster say NO to change
  • WAG committed to legal change since Oct 02

Welsh Assembly Government
  • Non-devolved area of responsibility
  • WAG committed to legal change since Oct 02
  • First UK country to take principled stand
    consistently recognises
  • childrens rights (UNCRC),
  • a child protection issue
  • part of Domestic Abuse agenda
  • need for parental support
  • Numerous representations to Westminster
  • Keen to find ways to promote Assemblys stance

Wales Steps (1)?
  • Feb 02 Welsh Childminding Regulations no
    physical punishment
  • Sept 02 Extended Definition of Domestic
    Violence agreed
  • Oct 02 WAG statement against the physical
    punishment of children in favour of legal
  • Oct 02 onwards WAG representations to
    Westminster e.g letters to ministers, response to
    Safety Justice Consultation, response to Every
    Child Matters consultation
  • Jan 04 41 X-Party AMs support legal reform
    (Childrens Bill debate)?

Wales Steps (2)?
  • Jan 04 Fact-finding visit to Sweden with Welsh
  • Throughout 04 extensive lobbying in
    Westminster and Wales to increase support for
    achieving equal protection in the Children Act
  • Feb 04 Rights Into Action published
  • Oct 04 National Service Framework for
    Children, Young People and maternity Services in
    Wales published-
  • Suggesting appropriate methods for managing
    childrens behaviour that support the Welsh
    Assembly Governments views that physical
    punishment of children is unacceptable. No. 2.48
    p 28
  • Tackling domestic Violence All Wales Strategy
  • Dec 05 Parenting Action Plan

Wales Steps (3)?
  • 2004 Powys Positive Parenting Alternatives
    to Smacking Conference, exhibition, leaflet, work
    with parents
  • 2003 Listening to Children in
  • Pembrokeshire CP Pembrokeshire CC
  • January 2005 Hitting people is wrong
  • Torfaen C YP framework partnership

Llansawel Research
  • Help at Hand May 06
  • A week of activities promoting alternatives to
    smacking children
  • Multi-agency, instigated by CAU!
  • Activities across the community
  • Funded by WAG
  • Report, briefing and executive summary available

WAG Booklet
  • Booklet on Positive Parenting with the No
    Smacking message is being developed through
    Fforwm Magu Plant Raising Children Forum
  • To go with From Breakfast to Bedtime and Over
    the top behaviour..
  • http//www.childreninwales.org.uk/areasofwork/pare

Help at Hand Toolkit
  • A toolkit to change attitudes and behaviour
    around the physical punishment of children
  • Launched by SCP!CAU! in March 2008
  • Materials which can be used by a wide variety of
    groups and individuals.
  • Web based toolkit with links to other resources,
    and activities and information sheets on the
  • www.helpathandtoolkit.info

Other Developments (1)
  • 2003 Parliamentary Joint Committee on Human
  • Report on the UN Convention on the Rights of the
  • - the lack of respect that the defence of
    reasonable chastisement embodies for children s
    entitlement to be free from physical assault is
    unnacceptable. the time has come for the
    Government To act
  • 2003 House of Commons Health Committee
  • Report on the Victoria Climbié Inquiry Report
  • - we urge the Government to remove the
    increasingly anomalous reasonable chastisement

Other Developments (2)
  • 2003 Home Office White Paper on Domestic
    Violence (Safety Justice) Government urged
  • Extend the definition of d.v. to include
  • Act to remove reasonable chastisement defence
  • SCP/CAU! Cymru said the continued existence of
    the reasonable chastisement defence in respect
    of assaults on children is a fatal flaw in any
    cohesive effective strategy to prevent
    domestic violence and a state commitment to Zero
    Tolerance. If Government continues to publicly
    endorse parental responsibility that can include
    hitting children, then the message about domestic
    violence is very confused Zero Tolerance But
    Not for Children

The Government Review of Section 58 October 2007
  • When Section 58 was introduced, a review was
    promised after 2 years.
  • Responses were invited the Government also
    carried out surveys of parents and of children.
  • There was overwhelming support for legal change,
    except from the survey of parents.
  • The government said it Will retain the law in
    its current form in the absence of evidence it is
    not working satisfactorily.

What can you do?
  • Become active - what do you need?
  • Sign up yourself
  • Sign up your organisation
  • Sign up someone else
  • Sign up another organisation

What can your organisation do?
  • Work with your client group
  • Make the issue part of the everyday work
  • Train others
  • Publicity press involvement
  • Provide, share or develop information
  • Evidence or Research
  • Provide or Develop Resources

Hitting Children is wrong, and the law should say
  • Physical Punishment
  • breaches childrens human rights
  • causes hurt harm
  • is ineffective
  • is domestic violence/abuse
  • gives out message might is right
  • adds to levels of violence in society

SCP!CAU Supporters
  • Kidzone Trust
  • Law yn Llaw
  • Local Aid
  • Mudiad Ysgolion Meithrin
  • National Childminding Association Wales
  • National Playbus Association
  • National Youth Advocacy Service
  • NCH Cymru
  • NCMA
  • NSPCC Cymru
  • North Wales Child Protection Forum
  • Play Wales
  • Princess of Wales Hospital
  • Rhondda Cynon Taff ACPC
  • Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
  • Rhymney Valley Women's Aid
  • Save the Children Cymru
  • South Wales Child Protection Forum
  • Swansea Student Community Action
  • Aberconwy Women's Aid
  • Bangor District Women's Aid
  • Barnardo's Cymru
  • BAWSO Women's Aid
  • Blaenau Ffestiniog Women's Aid
  • Bridgend District Resource for
  • Children with Disabilities
  • Bridgend Sure Start
  • Buttle Trust in Wales
  • Cardiff CC Children's Play Services
  • Cardigan Women's Aid
  • Cardiff Womens Safety Unit
  • Cardiff Womens Aid
  • Carers Wales
  • Carmarthenshire Youth Child. Assoc.
  • Cartref Bontnewydd
  • Children in Wales
  • Childrens Commissioner for Wales office
  • Child Safe Wales

A Last Word for Children
  • A big person should not hit a small person, not
    anyone ever.
  • Amy, Age 6
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