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Corporal punishment is the most common form of violence against children. Its widespread social acceptance normalises a level of violence throughout childhood, entrenches children’s low status in society and paves the way for other forms of violence, exploitation and mistreatment.
Corporal punishment is a violation of children’s rights. It also undermines investments in their physical and mental health and education and is associated with a wide range of short- and long-term negative impacts for both the individual child and for society and the economy.
Together, we reaffirm our commitment to accelerate action to prohibit corporal punishment in all settings so that children are equally protected under the law as adults. As the smallest and most vulnerable members of society, children deserve more protection than adults, not less.
Today, we are calling on all states that have not already done so to commit to and start the legislative process to prohibit corporal punishment in all settings by the end of 2022. This will pave the way for universal prohibition by 2030. The intention of this legal reform is not to prosecute parents and caregivers, but to signal governmental intent to bring about a cultural change towards non-violent childrearing, where parents and caregivers are supported in positive parenting and discipline. Global experience shows that legislation that bans violence or abuse is not enough. It is critical to also have specific legislation that prohibits corporal punishment* in all settings.
The obligation to achieve universal prohibition and elimination of all corporal punishment of children by 2030 is based on Sustainable Development Goal Target 16.2, along with existing human rights commitments. And yet, 87% of the world’s children are not protected from violent punishment by law, and it remains a daily experience – with lifelong consequences – for the majority of children worldwide.
No child should ever be subject to violence. Our vision is a world where all children are safe to grow, learn, play and thrive, in their homes, schools and communities. We see a moral imperative as well as a strong investment case to act. Children cannot and should not need to wait any longer to be legally protected from corporal punishment.
We know more about the solutions than ever before and we know that progress is possible. Forty years ago only one country had prohibited all corporal punishment of children; today 62 states have taken this groundbreaking step. But, as we enter the Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals, we know that progress must accelerate if we are to achieve our promise to children of non-violent childhoods by 2030.
To succeed, we must work together. We call on all governments to commit to the Together to #ENDviolence corporal punishment policy proposals:
- All states (that have not already done so) commit to start the legislative process to prohibit corporal punishment in all settings by the end of 2022;
- All states to have achieved prohibition of corporal punishment in all settings by 2030;
- All states commit to accelerating the elimination of corporal punishment, by implementing a national plan that includes public education campaigns, positive parenting support for all, promotion of safe schools and communities, professional training and more;
- All states commit to measuring progress by including Sustainable Development Goal indicator 16.2.1** in national statistical programmes.
To endorse this statement and the Together to #ENDviolence corporal punishment policy proposals please complete the form below.
Thank you for your support. This statement and list of signatories will be publicly announced and presented to leaders as part of the culmination of the Together to #ENDviolence global campaign.
* Corporal punishment comprises of any punishment in which physical force is used and intended to cause some degree of pain or discomfort, however light, as well as other non-physical forms of punishment that are also cruel and degrading. - Committee on the Rights of the Child, General Comment 8 (2006) The right of the child to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment
** Indicator 16.2.1: Proportion of children aged 1-17 years who experienced any physical punishment and/or psychological aggression by caregivers in the past month