ISPCC welcomes move to make children equal before the law

As many people who know me are a aware, I am a volunteer with the ISPCC for the past five years. I passionately campaign and advocate for children’s rights. I am delighted to see that children are now equal before the law. Before now, adults who assaulted adults could be charged and we even saw cases where young teenagers (people under 18 years of age) were charged for offences against adults. The absolute disgraceful inequality that used to exist in Irish law allowed adults to assault children and claim as a defence that the were chastising or disciplining the child. Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Dr James Reilly has now enacted a change that now outlaws this practice. Adults can now be charged with assault for hitting a child (and this includes slapping their own child).

I have included the ISPCC’s response below.


Today the ISPCC has welcomed the signing of the commencement order by Dr James Reilly Minister for Children and Youth Affairs for the removal of the reasonable chastisement defence from common law which effectively means that parents may be charged with assault for slapping children.

The ISPCC has campaigned for several years to see children’s right to not be slapped, hit or assaulted put on equal par with that of adults.

Grainia Long, Chief Executive ISPCC said “Today marks the culmination of decades of campaigning and advocating on behalf of children for their right not to be slapped. We welcome the commencement of this legislation and congratulate the Minister on action taken in this area. It sends a strong message about how Ireland views and treats its children and puts us on par with 23 EU countries who have already made similar moves”

 The ISPCC views physical punishment as not just a key human rights issue but also a key child protection issue. Other European countries have demonstrated that prohibition does not serve to particularly prosecute parents but to protect children.

While the legislation is a welcome development the ISPCC notes that the Government must now also commit to a large scale public awareness and positive parenting programme, as well as promoting where parents can go to get support.

Ms Long continued “The ISPCC will continue to raise awareness and support parents in finding alternative ways to discipline their children however universally accessible parent supports in communities would be hugely beneficial to parents and families and the ISPCC urges the Government to provide for such supports.”


That’s it for now.

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This entry was posted on Friday, December 11th, 2015 at 3:01 pm and is filed under Ireland, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.