11 Nov 2015
No More Hitting Children – Government Closes Gap on Corporal Punishment
Today marks an end to the corporal punishment of children in Irish law. The Children’s Rights Alliance is delighted to welcome this landmark change, which abolishes the common law defence of ‘reasonable chastisement’ following the final passage of the Children First Bill in the Dáil.
Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, says: “Today’s momentous change means that children will now be safer and better protected. We know the harm corporal punishment causes to children. It affects their self-esteem, it damages the parent-child relationship and it simply does not work.
This abolition is hugely significant because it makes all citizens equal before the law. For generations, it has been illegal to hit another adult in Ireland. The law is now no different for children. This legal change is historic and a significant recognition that children are rights holders that must be respected and protected.
Undoubtedly, this will change attitudes towards disciplining children and sends a powerful message to society that hitting children is wrong. Up to now, Ireland has been lagging way behind its European counterparts. Yet, we know from the experience of other countries that introducing a law is a tool for change that will reduce abuse levels against children overall. 46 countries in the world have prohibited the corporal punishment of children, including 19 countries in the EU. It was long overdue that Ireland should follow their lead.”
The Children’s Rights Alliance would like to commend the Government and An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, TD, for their leadership and commitment to children’s rights. We warmly commend the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr James Reilly TD, and independent Senator, Jillian van Turnhout, who co-sponsored this amendment to the Children First Bill in the Seanad.
Notes to Editor
• Tanya Ward, Chief Executive is available for interview.
• The Children’s Rights Alliance has been campaigning for a corporal punishment ban in the home since its establishment in 1995.
• The right of a child to be protected from all forms of violence is one of the most important aspects of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
For further information, please contact:
Emma McKinley, Communications & Development Manager
Tel: 01 662 9400 / 087 655 9067 or email email@example.com