Global report on childhood free from corporal punishment

Date: 1st June 2014
Category: Disability, Basic Health and Welfare

A special global progress report has been published on universal prohibition of corporal punishment, including examples of how States can work collaboratively and highlighting research carried out.

This global progress report was released on the occasion of a high-level conference hosted by Sweden's Ministry of Health and Social Affairs in Stockholm in June 2014, celebrating the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the CRC and the 35th anniversary of Sweden's pioneering ban on all corporal punishment of children.

The report looks at the progress and delay of prohibiting corporal punishment of children in all settings - 37 States across all world regions have achieved law reform to prohibit all corporal punishment of children, including in the home, and a further 46 States have expressed a commitment to enacting prohibiting legislation.

The report outlines how States can work collaboratively to achieve equal protection from violence for adults and children; highlights the obligations under human rights law to do so; focuses on faith-based support for equal protection and offers the legality of corporal punishment using a State by State analysis.

As highlighted by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in its General Comment No. 8 to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), "... eliminating violent and humiliating punishment of children, through law reform and other necessary measures, is an immediate and unqualified obligation of States parties".

Scottish context

The Scottish Government has stated in its submission to the 2014 UK UNCRC periodic report that it 'does not consider it appropriate to criminalise parents for lightly smacking their children' and that there is 'currently no intention to change the law in this area'. Children's organisations are clear that if the Scottish Government is serious about its commitment to make Scotland 'the best place to grow up', it needs to give children equal protection from assault in law by removing 'justifiable assault' of children.

Scotland is coming under increasing international pressure to give children equal protection from violence. Most recently, in May 2013, the UN Committee Against Torture recommended that 'the State party prohibits corporal punishment of children in all settings ... repealing all legal defences currently in place, and further promote positive non-violent forms of discipline via public campaigns as an alternative to corporal punishment.'

Together will continue to work with its members to push for the removal of the defence of 'justifiable assault' in Scots Law and for the promotion of positive, non-violent parenting methods.