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Progress against corporal punishment
Appendix 1: Progress towards prohibition of corporal punishment in member states – summary tableAppendix 3: Recommendations to member states by the Committee on the Rights of the Child
In addition to this, more detailed information on each country can be found on the status of corporal punishment as of October 2012 in the Council of Europe member states and on the specific campaign activities carried out in each country. To date, 23 Council of Europe member states have banned corporal punishment and 6 more are committed to do so.
Country reports on corporal punishment
The internet and other new media are increasingly used by member states to disseminate information about positive parenting. Through online programmes, parents can learn about parenting or exchange experiences with other parents in an interactive manner. , for example, published since 2006 nine multimedia CD-ROMs, starting from pregnancy and covering all age groups of children under the age of 18. Special CD-ROMs are targeting single parents, re-constituted families and “late” parents who started a family at age 35 and older.
Legal as well as psychological assistance to spouses and children are provided in the Family and Children Support Centres in . Three such local centres were founded in 2005 by Save the Children and are since 2008 under the responsibility of the government. The centres register cases of violence, conflicts and other situations of stress in families and regularly conduct prevention work with families at risk.
Training child care professionals with different backgrounds on parenting support is the objective of a recent initiative taken by the “Office of birth and childhood” (ONE) of the French Community in Belgium. ONE developed a handbook on parenting support for professionals as a reference document and is currently working on a training module for professionals on parenting support.
Bosnia and Herzegovina:
prohibition incomplete and no commitment to reform
As a way to meet the increasing need for child day-care, Bulgaria developed the “Support of Motherhood National Programme”. This programme aims at creating appropriate conditions for mothers who wish to return to work by training former unemployed persons as childminders. The Social Assistance Directorates inform, select and train unemployed persons who are interested in working as childminders and matches them with parents in need of day care for their children. Beneficiaries can be mothers (or father raising their children on their own) with a child under the age of two years. The childminders are paid and supervised by the Social Assistance Directorates.
In June 2008, the Republic of Croatia hosted the launching event of the Council of Europe’s campaign “Raise your hand against smacking”. Six months later Croatia launched its own national campaign against corporal punishment, which promotes non-violent behaviour towards children.
An in-depth training for parents on matters of communication within the family has been developed by the Ministry of Education and Culture in since 2006. The programme consists of a series of 13 workshops, which are co-ordinated by specially trained staff members of the Ministry. The groups of approximately 20 parents meet in weekly sessions for two hours. This training aims at promoting psychological health trough improving the quality of communication within the family, which is also seen as a way to reduce domestic violence.
In the Czech Republic, the campaign prompted heated debate and the government now intends to use the Council of Europe’s TV spot and material to launch its own campaign. In the framework of its Presidency of the European Union, the Czech Republic organised a conference on “Child-friendly Europe” in Prague in April 2009. One of the objectives was to underline the importance of positive parenting, including protecting children from all forms of violence.
In Estonia, different resources from public authorities, non-governmental organisations, the European Social Fund and the Council of Europe have been put together to address positive parenting from various aspects: awareness raising on positive parenting; corporal punishment; the role of fathers; child protection on the internet; local activities to support parenting. An important element of all these activities has been an increased level of co-operation between governmental structures, non-governmental organisations and local governments. As a result, a range of round-tables, conferences and campaigns have been carried out in addition to the everyday parenting support to families.
In Finland, where a large proportion of pre-school children are enrolled in early childhood education and care, the day-care services play an important role in supporting parenting. The co-operation between day-care centres and parents is based on the idea of partnership in upbringing the child while respecting the parents’ views on the principles regarding their child’s growth and wellbeing. Hereby a unified frame of reference for the child’s development is created both at home and in the day-care setting.
In France, the ombudsperson for children has recommended a ban on corporal punishment, using the Council of Europe campaign as an argument and for the first time, corporal punishment has become a part of the public debate through wide national media coverage.
A French MP, Edwige Antier, has proposed a bill (N°.2244) to ban corporal punishment of children
As a way of meeting the needs of today’s often isolated nuclear families, Germany supports the creation of Multi-Generational Centres through a national action programme. The objective is to transfer the tradition of several generations living together from the private to the public sphere. The Multi-Generational Centres draw on the know-how and the potentials of all generations in order to nurture and educate children, give advice to families, activate civic engagement and provide elderly persons with meaningful tasks. A total of 500 of these centres exist today.
changes in Greece, for instance, allow parents to spend more time with
their children. According to the new code for civil servants, parental
leave is available also to fathers, to a single parent, and to
adoptive parents. Parental leave is longer and better paid for parents
with three or more children. Mothers working in the private sector are
now also entitled to 6 months paid maternal childcare leave after their
maternity leave. In May 2009, the Greek
coalition against corporal punishment launched the Council of Europe
campaign in Greece, focusing on the dissemination of the TV spot by main
public and private televisions, discussions with children and the
organisation of positive parenting training.
In Ireland, the ‘Community Mothers Programme’ was set up in order to develop the skills and self-esteem of parents who live mainly in areas that experience disadvantage. Experienced mothers, known as Community Mothers, are recruited as volunteers and trained to give support and encouragement to parents in the rearing of their own children (aged 0-2 years) emphasising health care, nutritional improvement and overall development. The programme supports parents including lone parents, teenage parents, Traveller parents, asylum seekers and refugees. The Programme is being delivered to approximately two thousand parents each year, in their own home, by one hundred and fifty Community Mothers, guided and supported by 12 Family Development Nurses. Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald is considering bringing in legislation to prohibit all corporal punishment of children (29 December 2011)
In Italy, a coalition against corporal punishment was founded with the participation of NGOs, parliamentarians, governmental offices, professionals, networks and parents associations.
Amendments to the Law on Fundamentals of Protection of the Rights of the Child which would prohibit all corporal punishment of children, including in the home, are currently under discussion in parliament. A final vote is expected in May 2013.
Lithuania has been developing a network of children day care centres, which provide services for children from families at risk of social exclusion. These centres do not only provide various after school activities to develop the social skills of children, but also psychological, pedagogical and legal assistance to their parents. The establishment of these centres is seen as an important contribution to diminishing the number of socially dysfunctional families.
Another group in need of specific support is children without parental care. Lithuania launched a programme to support orphans and children without parental care and their integration into society (2005-2008). The action plan of the programme provided for the creation and application of certain requirements and standards for social services for children, the education of children and young people in care as well as the professional training of staff working with them.
In 2008, Lithuania organised an international conference on the theme “The influence of micro and macro environment on the expression of positive parenting: good practice and international experience”. The aim of the conference was to promote positive parenting in the Lithuanian society and to learn from international experience in this area.
In December 2008, Luxembourg adopted a law reaffirming its ban on
corporal punishment. The law of 16th December 2008 on ‘support to
children and families’ reinforced the penal code, already prohibiting
violence on any individual, including light assaults. Article 2 of the
law underlines that ‘within notably families and educational
communities, physical and sexual violence, inter-generational
transgressions, inhuman and degrading treatments as well as genital
mutilations are prohibited’.
Malta continued to introduce further regulation governing its day care centres. This brought about investments in the physical structures of these centres, such as the upgrading of play areas, as well as in the competencies of staff.
A ban on corporal punishment was achieved following the campaign in Moldova. The family code has been amended to explicitly prohibit corporal punishment by parents and others with parental authority.
The government of Monaco is currently examining a bill on domestic violence adopted by the National Council in April 2008. The enactment of this piece of legislation will provide the Principality of Monaco with a legal instrument in the field of protection against domestic violence.
In the Netherlands, a new Ministry for Youth and Family was created in 2007, and parenting support is one of its priorities. As a result of “Operation Young People”, a 3-year programme operated by seven ministries aiming at reforming children's and young people's services, each municipality is now supposed to set up a Youth and Family Centre. The central government supports the creation of these Centres financially and through a number of guidelines. The Centres must be built on existing structures such as the child health clinics and be connected with provincial youth care as well as schools. After having created a network of child services, many other services such as parenting programmes can be included in the work.
Norway recently developed two new parenting programmes targeting specific groups of the society: (1) As a part of the government’s Plan of Action for people with disabilities, a project on family guidance for parents with disabled children was initiated. This programme aims at enhancing communication, strengthening relationships and preventing family break-up in families with children with disabilities. (2) Another project targets the specific needs of parents belonging to minority groups. It focuses not only on building good relationships with the child, but also on multicultural background issues in child development and different values and traditions in child rearing. One of the factors contributing to the success of this programme so far is the fact that one of the two facilitators in the group is always a representative of the respective minority group.
On 1 August 2010, a new law came into force in Poland prohibiting all corporal punishment in childrearing. Article 2 of the Law of 6 May 2010 “On the Prevention of Family Violence” amends the Family Code (1964) by inserting a new article 96 which prohibits all corporal punishment in childrearing: “Persons exercising parental care, care or alternative care over a minor are forbidden to use corporal punishment, inflict psychological suffering and use any other forms of child humiliation” (unofficial translation)
With a view to bridging research and practice in the field of positive parenting, Portugal established a protocol between the government and five universities with the aim of studying and improving the content of positive parenting programmes for parents and other caretakers. In the framework of this co-operation, new forms of interventions are being developed for families with children at risk due to a lack of parental skills.
Portugal organised a conference on positive parenting during the Portuguese presidency of the European Union and will launch the Council of Europe campaign at national level in June 2009.
The Ministry of Education, Research and Innovation of Romania elaborated, in partnership with UNICEF, the national programme “Parents’ Education”. Workshops organised in the framework of this programme address topics such as: respect for children’s rights; negotiating conflicts; evasive behaviour; non-discrimination; decision making; and children’s spare time. The programme runs in 640 schools and educational institutions. For the same purpose, psycho-pedagogical counselling cabinets were set up within these establishments to provide advice for pupils and parents.
The government of Romania approved in 2008 the National Strategy on Child Protection, which sets the priorities for the period 2008-2013. The strategy aims at protecting all children in Romania and takes a comprehensive approach. Emphasis is placed on strengthening the role of the family in children’s lives. The actions foreseen in the strategy shall prevent the abandonment, abuse and neglect of children, increase the quality of life of families with children, and strengthen the provision of quality social services for families and children.
A media campaign with the title “You, too, can be a better parent”, was implemented in 2007 in Romania. The main purpose of the campaign was to raise parents’ awareness of their responsibilities regarding upbringing and education of their children. The campaign also addressed to professionals, local authorities and the state in order to encourage them to support parents in fulfilling their responsibilities.
A “Children in need Fund” was set up in Russia in 2008 on the initiative of President Vladimir Putin. It is financed from the federal budget (50 million Euros in 2009) as well as from extra-budgetary sources such as donations. The Fund supports regional programmes and projects proposed by different organisations, including NGO’s, which are selected on a competitive basis. Its objectives are the prevention of orphan hood of children, the promotion of family-based forms of care for children deprived of parental care, support to families with children with disabilities, and the social rehabilitation of children in conflict with the law.
Spain, for example launched the Plan “Educa3”, which has been endowed with over 1 billion Euros for the period 2008-2012. Educa3 is aimed at creating 300 000 new day-care places for children under the age of three, both to guarantee the children’s right to early education and to help parents reconciling work and family life.
Spain modified its civil code with a view to eliminate all references to the parents’ authority to chastise their children that could imply a toleration of corporal punishment of children.
In Spain, a very wide TV campaign was run thanks to the support of the Ministry of Education and Social Services and almost all public, private, regional and local broadcasters. An international conference on positive parenting was organised in Palma de Mallorca in May 2009.
In March 2009 Sweden adopted a National Strategy for Parental Support with the aim to offer support to all parents throughout their child’s life until he or she turns 18. This is to be accomplished via increased co-operation on parental support among actors working with children (e.g. municipalities, county councils, religious communities, parent’s associations, the sports movement, NGOs and study associations). The Strategy also aims at increasing the number of health-promoting arenas, of meeting places for parents, and of parental support actors with training in health promoting methods and universal evidence-based programmes. On a voluntary basis, all parents should be offered the same opportunities for support and help.
In the framework of a public-private partnership, Switzerland developed a concept for a national child protection programme which is to start in 2010. One module of this programme deals in particular with the question of training parents in non-violent upbringing as well as with benefits to relieve parents.
Switzerland launched a national information and prevention campaign “Strong through upbringing” (“L’éducation donne de la force”). The campaign, which is run by a nongovernmental organisation and supported by the Confederation and several cantons, has the following objectives: Raising awareness of upbringing issues; informing parents and strengthening their competences; developing new services and products for families; and creating a network of the institutions and persons working for and with families.
Bringing pupils from Turkey’s eastern and western parts together was the objective of the “Heart Bridge Project”, which the Ministry of Education implemented in co-operation with other public institutions and organisations. 100 000 students from low-income families from Turkey’s 81 provinces went from east to west and vice-versa for a period of 5 days in order to establish friendships and to learn more about their diverse country and its people.
In the United Kingdom, from April 2009, 4.5 million parents of children aged 16 and under gained the right to ask employers for flexible work arrangements. This was previously limited to parents of children up to the age of six or disabled children aged up to 18; now a total of 10 million parents are entitled.