France has become the 52nd country to ban physical punishment of children.
France now forbids cruel, degrading and humiliating treatment of children by their parents and it makes spanking a civil offence.
Kathy Lynn, chair of Corinne’s Quest, a national campaign to end physical punishment of children in Canada, applauds the decision made in France on behalf of their children.
“Now, our legislators, need to get on board and become the 53rd country to do the right thing for our children,” she said.
Marta Santos Pais, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on Violence against Children, said of France’s decision: “It lays the foundation for a culture of respect for children‘s rights; safeguards children’s dignity and physical integrity; and encourages positive discipline and education of children through non-violent means.”
Canada is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child but is in contravention of that agreement because Canada still has Section 43 of the Criminal Code on the books which specifically permits assault on children by their parents. It is essential that Canada Repeal s.43 in order to be in compliance with the UN Convention.
Call to Action #6 in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission asks for the Repeal of S43 and the government has said it will implement the TRC.
“This call to action is an easy one to implement,” said Lynn. “It requires a simple repeal of that section. Why the hold up when it was promised?
“Is it because our children do not vote and therefore protecting them isn’t a priority? In 2017 shouldn’t our children be protected from all assault in the same way as all other Canadian citizens?”
The research evidence is clear, said Lynn. Spanking can cause kids to become more aggressive and experience mental health issues which can is some cases continue into adulthood. It can impair the parent-child relationship, lead to a lower moral internalization and in some cases to delinquency.
This evidence is clear and compelling — physical punishment of children and youth plays no useful role in their upbringing and poses only risks to their development. The conclusion is equally compelling — parents should be strongly encouraged to develop alternative and positive approaches to discipline.
“It’s time for our Minister of Justice to take a stand on behalf of children and Repeal s.43.”