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Ending legalised violence against children: Global Report 2013

Following up the UN Secretary General’s Study on Violence against Children

Achieving law reform to prohibit corporal punishment of children marks a turning point in a state’s relationship with its youngest citizens. It signals a recognition of children as human beings, respect for their rights, a commitment to fostering their growth and development in a violence-free environment and a vision of a society based on the premise that conflict can be resolved peacefully. Yet which of us would not claim that we already hold such views? Why is it that prohibiting corporal punishment can be such a struggle? Perhaps it is because promoting law reform for prohibition also marks a turning point in our relationship with ourselves. It confronts us with our personal experiences of being hit and hurt as we were growing up, of our past and present feelings about our parents and communities; the beliefs we have developed to rationalise our life experiences and what we see around us; our parenting, and physically punishing our own children; our religious views. But how would progress be made in any aspect of our lives if we allowed our past and present to prevent us changing things now and for the future?

The positive work towards realising children’s right to protection from all corporal punishment documented in this report, and the achievement of law reform in 34 states to date, attest to the fact that change is possible and the results are good. With a quarter of UN member states now committed to prohibiting corporal punishment of children, let us make every effort to ensure that all children are able to enjoy their childhoods free from violence.