Ban Corporal Punishment and Give Children Equal Protection in Law

Published date: 
27 May 2015

Ban Corporal Punishment and Give Children Equal Protection in Law

Wednesday, 27 May 2015: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

The Children’s Rights Alliance today welcomed the decision by the European Committee of Social Rights which found, once again, that Ireland is violating children’s rights due to its failure to ban corporal punishment in the home.

Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, says:

“We are very pleased with today’s decision as this firmly puts the spotlight on Ireland to ban smacking. Up to now, Ireland has permitted corporal punishment of children in the home, which is out of kilter with most other European countries. In recent days, the world has witnessed Ireland’s decision to introduce marriage equality and is now asking – how can children not yet have equal protection in the law?

Today’s decision by the Committee finds that Irish domestic law does not: ‘prohibit and penalise all forms of violence against children within the family, in certain types of care or certain types of pre-school settings. This includes acts or behaviour likely to affect their physical integrity, dignity, development or psychological development or wellbeing’. This is mainly because parents or carers can rely on the common law defence of reasonable chastisement in our laws when disciplining children.

The Children’s Rights Alliance also welcomes the decision by the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs to ban corporal punishment in foster care and in all childcare settings. He will also review the common law defence of reasonable chastisement with the Minister for Justice and Equality.  

This is a step in the right direction for every child in Ireland. It’s important that the Minister provides a timeline for introducing this change and provides support for parenting programmes on alternative forms of disciplining children.”


Notes to Editor:
•    The European Committee of Social Rights is a committee of the Council of Europe. Its mission is to judge that States party are in conformity in law and in practice with the provisions of the European Social Charter
•    A Collective Complaint was registered to the Committee by the Association for the Protection of All Children (APPROACH) on 4 February 2013. It was communicated to the Government on 7 February 2013.

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