Children's Institute gives ban on corporal punishment the thumbs up

Corporal punishment in schools has been banned in South Africa since 1997. Last week the Gauteng High Court outlawed corporal punishment in the home as well.

This means it is now illegal to practice corporal punishment even in your home on your children.

CapeTalk's kieno Kammies speaks to Executive Director at Freedom of Religion South Africa, Michael Swain who was invited to make a submission on this matter as a friend of the court.

He says chastisement (not brutally beating, punching and kicking of children) is something that has always been done in the home to discipline children to ensure they understand the difference between right and wrong.

There's clearly a major difference between violence and abuse and reasonable and moderate chastisement in love. Parents have the responsibility of correcting their children and making sure they understand the difference between right and wrong.

Michael Swain, Executive Director at Freedom of Religion South Africa

Senior Researcher at Children's Institute, Dr Stefanie Röhrs says the ruling is a clear victory for children's rights, putting an end a decade long of neglect on children's rights.

It was always considered an assault for beating an adult but it was never considered an assault for beating a child, particularly your own child.

Dr Stefanie Röhrs, Senior Researcher at Children's Institute

Obviously for us that was a clear violation of children's rights...

Dr Stefanie Röhrs, Senior Researcher at Children's Institute

Röhrs says there are a variety of tools that parents can make use of to discipline a child like time out, withdrawal of privileges and positive re-enforcement.

I think corporal punishment has to do with a lot of parents not knowing about child development, that young children don't try to be naughty they are just at the stage where they don't know the difference between right and wrong in what they are doing.

Dr Stefanie Röhrs, Senior Researcher at Children's Institute

To hear the rest of the interview, listen below:


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