Just a Slap,But It Lasts A Lifetime

By Ken Musaba

Spare the child, spoil the road; is an old proverb used by most of our African parents to justify their violence action against children, but did you know caning, slapping and pinching is a type of corporal punishment and is seen as violence against children? Making it the most common type of violence against children?

Around 16.2 % of children aged 1-17, experienced any form of physical punishment and (or) psychological aggression (corporal punishment) by caregivers or guardians in pathfinders countries, this is according to the combined report represented at the End of Violence Against Children Summit in Stockholm this month on 14th-15th .

Corporal punishment is the most common form of violence experienced by children around the globe, and its believed by ending it, would be a huge stepping stone to ending all forms of violence against children.

Though Kenya is not among the pathfinder countries, it has adopted the act as stated by the United Nations on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), that states every child has a right to be protected from being hurt and mistreated, be in it body or mind.

Corporal punishment is defined as any non-accidental action or force to any part of a child’s body which results or may result to injury, harm or emotional disturbances to a child. Examples are: caning, hitting, slapping, biting, punching, kicking, pinching, cutting, burning and spitting.

In the report, most African countries in the pathfinder e.g. Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa and Nigeria have not fully prohibited corporal punishment especially at homes and schools, their law recognize the parents’ power to exercise moderate or reasonable chastisement as long as it does not lead to injury of the child.

Though they have not fully adopted bill of ending corporal punishment but they have accepted and received the recommendations by the UNCRC to end violence against children.

Only 53 countries in the world have prohibited any form of corporal punishment at home and in schools. Some of these countries are; Sweden, Mongolia, Montenegro, Paraguay, Romania, while 131 Countries have only prohibited in schools alone.

Pathfinding countries under the Global Partnership to End Violence against children have committed to three to five years of accelerated action to end violence against children including a formal pledge to support actions to end all forms of violence against children.

They measure their progress through four tasks; Legal status, Commitment (of the government to end corporal punishment), Progress (any availability of prevalence data and examples of good practice) and Recommendations (relevant ideas from human rights treaty monitoring bodies).

Ken Musaba is a journalist at Mtoto News, focusing on parenting.

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