oa Article 19 - A legal ban alone will not be enough to stop corporal punishment : African perspectives

Volume 5, Issue 2
  • ISSN :



''There is no law against it!'' a parent could argue with regards to corporal punishment. Looking at the domestic law in South Africa, this would be true. Although corporal punishment has been prohibited in all schools, care institutions and the juvenile justice system, it still may be lawfully carried out within families. South Africa, like all other States on the continent, with the exception of Somalia, has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). It has also ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC). These, along with other international human rights instruments, oblige State Parties to take the appropriate measures to protect children from corporal punishment.

Whilst a national law prohibiting corporal punishment would send parents a clear message that physically punishing their children is unacceptable, such punishment would need to become a less socially acceptable form of discipline for a legal ban to be more effective. There are various ways to move towards changing the general public's attitude with regards to corporal punishment. This would be a positive undertaking, even while parental corporal punishment is still lawful in a State, because it would serve to discourage adults from physically punishing their children.

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