Wednesday 18 September 2019
Save the Children South Africa (SCSA) welcomes the Constitutional Court ruling
, banning the use of corporal punishment in the home and calls on parents to respect it.
The judgement upholds the 2017 South Gauteng High Court ruling, which found that the defence of reasonable chastisement, that allows parents to physically punish their children, violates children’s rights and that the protection of children from all forms of violence is critical in our context of alarmingly high levels of violence against children.
According to the Children’s Institute at the University of Cape Town, 75% of physical violence against children occurs in the context of physical punishment.
“This is a historic judgement, and a victory in the ultimate bid to end violence against children. As we commemorate heritage month, this judgement, reflects on the important legacy that we will leave for children in South Africa.” says SCSA’s Child Protection Programme Manager, Divya Naidoo.
SCSA further calls for government’s financial investment in positive discipline, and parental support interventions.
SCSA’s Violence Unwrapped study provided evidence that prohibition of corporal punishment is a low-cost effective public health measure, for example in the prevention of domestic violence, mental illness and antisocial behaviour as well as to aid welfare, education and developmental outcomes for children. On the other hand, investments in prevention (such as positive parenting programmes) eradicate the problem before it even occurs.
“As a pathfinder country, we need interventions to educate and raise awareness on positive parenting and to help equip parents with skills to raise their children without using violence, and help do away with the belief that corporal punishment is the best solution,” adds Naidoo.
Corporal punishment may result in immediate compliance, but it does not lead to self-discipline, instead it often results in repeated misbehaviour. Positive discipline, on the other hand, is about guiding and teaching a child to develop understanding, self-discipline and long-term changes in behaviour.
For more information or to set up interviews contact: Sibusiso Khasa on 073 449 6871or SKhasa@savethechildren.org.za
Save the Children believes every child deserves a future. In South Africa and around the world, we give children a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We do whatever it takes for children – every day and in times of crisis – transforming their lives and the future we share.
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