Services and Policy Press Releases

Children First Bill: Calls time on physical punishment of children

Press Statement on Corporal Punishment Ban 11 November 2015
Press Statement 11 November 2015

Children First Bill: Calls time on physical punishment of children

On Wednesday 11 November 2015, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Dr James Reilly TD, heralded the final stages of the Children First Bill through the Dáil, thus concluding its passage through the Oireachtas. Independent Senator and children’s rights advocate, Jillian van Turnhout warmly welcomes the completion of the Children First Bill, which effectively calls time on the physical punishment of children.

She said “there must never be a defence for violence against children. I am honoured to have championed and secured the effective ban on the physical punishment of children in Ireland. The Children First Act will put child welfare and protection on a statutory footing.  It will solidify good intentions. As part of this legislation I brought forward an amendment to abolish the archaic common law defence of “reasonable chastisement” and finally vanquish it to the realms of history."

“The defence of “reasonable chastisement” is not an Irish invention; it came to us from English common law. Through its colonial past, England has been responsible for rooting this legal defence in over 70 countries and territories throughout the world.  In this action being taken today, the Government is putting children first and providing leadership that will hopefully give confidence to other countries across the globe, including our nearest neighbours, to protect children from violence.”

“Why as a society do we accept that we even have to debate whether it is okay to hit someone? Let alone when that someone is smaller than us and probably doesn’t understand why they are being hit?”
“I fully agree with Minister Reilly that the abolition of the defence of reasonable chastisement is a tangible and practical manifestation of children’s rights and I am very proud of the role I have played in securing it.”

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Universal Children’s Day: Practical guide to European law relating to rights of the child

On the occasion of the Universal Children’s Day, the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), the Council of Europe, and the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR), launch a handbook on European law relating to rights of the child. “The promotion and protection of rights of the child is one of the EU’s objectives. However, legal practitioners are not always familiar with European law and jurisprudence in this area,” says FRA
interim Director Constantinos Manolopoulos. “We are glad to offer this useful guide to assist practitioners better protect children so they can effectively enjoy their rights.” 

This handbook is designed to assist lawyers, judges, prosecutors, social workers, nongovernmental organisations and other bodies confronted with legal issues relating to rights of the child. The publication covers issues such as equality, personal identity, family life, alternative care and adoption, migration and asylum, child protection against violence and exploitation, as well as children’s rights within criminal justice and alternative proceedings. The handbook is available in English and French. Other language versions will follow in 2016. The launch of the handbook is part of the annual World Forum for Democracy, organised by the
Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

Download here

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18 November European Day for the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation &Sexual Abuse

18 November 2015 – European Day for the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse

"Tell someone you trust" a new animation by Council of Europe which informs 9 to 13 year olds about sexual violence in the circle of trust and how to speak out against it.

The video is a part of a series of initiatives that the Council of Europe and its 47 member states as well as international organisations are undertaking.

Watch Tell Someone You Trust Video


Council of Europe Website

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Ombudsman for Children Annual Report 2014

The Ombudsman’s first annual report says children with mental health issues were being accommodated last year in adult psychiatric wards or general children's wards without mental health supports.

The Ombudsman says young people needing care, compassion and specialist treatment were instead just put on suicide watch.

Dr Muldoon said in the second quarter of last year, the Child and Family Agency had only assessed one in five reports of child abuse within the target time of 21 days, leaving over 2,000 children in a vulnerable situation.

CEO Mary Flaherty added on RTE News that there must also be an adequate long-term therapeutic response for children after a disclosure of abuse has been made.

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