It is possible to translate the legal ban against corporal punishment into actions that influence attitudes and behaviour of the public!

In 1979 Sweden set an example for the rest of the world to follow – by being the first country in the world to prohibit corporal punishment in all settings. Since then, 53 more countries have achieved a legal ban, and more countries are in the process of enacting a legal prohibition. Today, the Baltic Sea Region is a pioneer and model region at global level. Of 11 member states in the Council of the Baltic Sea States, 10 have a full legal prohibition of corporal punishment in place.

To raise attention to the fact that it is possible to change policies, attitudes and behaviours, the Council of the Baltic Sea States organised a high-level conference on implementing the prohibition of corporal punishment. The conference was co-hosted by the Government of Sweden and in cooperation with the UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence Against Children.

At the Conference, a set of guidance reports and a campaign has been launched, aimed at parents, children, practitioners, advocates and policy-makers. Each report focuses on a specific theme – a step-by-step guide, implementing the ban in the domestic setting, positive parenting, awareness-raising campaigns, service provision and tracking progress. In addition, a campaign is developed to raise awareness of the harmful impact of corporal punishment and the importance for children to have trusted adults to turn to.

The reports and campaign offer inspiration and provide guidance standards and practical tools aimed at transforming societies and making non-violent childhoods a reality. While the reports are based on the experience of the Baltic Sea Region, they convey key messages and highlight best practices that have relevance not only to the 11 states in the region but also to Europe and beyond. 

The President of Malta, Ministers from five different countries, high-level UN and EU officials, representatives of NGOs and academia attended the conference.

Read more about the Conference here.

Find all Reports here.

Programme

HRH Prince Daniel of Sweden will attend the opening of the conference on 15 November.

Speaking on Thursday 15 November:

Maira Mora, Director General of the Council of the Baltic Sea States Secretariat, Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Violence against Children, Elda Moreno, Council of Europe, Valeria Setti, European Commission, Anna Henry, the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children, Lena Ingelstam, Save the Children, Bragi Gudbrandson, UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, Juris Jansons, Ombudsman for Children, Latvia, Staffan Janson, Professor and expert to the Non-Violent Childhoods Programme.

Speaking on Friday 16 November:

H.E. Marie-Louise Coleiro, President of Malta, Lena Hallengren, Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality, Sweden, Ásmundur Einar Daðason, Minister of Social Affairs and Equality, Iceland, Linas Kukuraitis, Minister of Social Affairs and Equality, Lithuania, Annika Saarikko, Minister of Family and Social Services, Finland, Marija Pletikosa, State Secretary, Ministry for Demography, Family, Youth and Social Policy, Croatia, Sandra León Alfonso, General Director of the High Commission against Child Poverty, Spain, H.E. Neziha Laabidi, Minister for Women, Families and Children, Tunisia, Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Violence against Children, Anna Maria Corazza Bildt, Chair of the European Parliament Intergroup on Children’s Rights, Howard Taylor, Executive Director, Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children.

Quotes

We are in a positive flow at the moment – the Baltic Sea Region is a model region at global level with 10 out of 11 countries having prohibited corporal punishment in all settings including in the home.

– Maira Mora, Director General of the Council of the Baltic Sea States Secretariat

Violence against children affects children of all ages, and it often starts early in life. This is why violence prevention must start in early childhood by investing in positive parenting practices and by encouraging positive discipline and the upbringing of children through non-violent means. But violence against children is not a fate and it can become a part of a distant past if we invest in strong child protection systems, including the enactment and enforcement of comprehensive legislation to prohibit all forms of violence against children in all settings, including within the home.

– Marta Santos Pais, UN Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children

Traditionally, in Sweden, it was common for parents to beat their children, to discipline them. However, this situation changed from the end of the 60ies when more and more people, policy makers, professionals and mass media understood the harm to children of corporal punishment. The ban in 1979, worked to increase this understanding and today five percent of children in Sweden are subjected to repeated physical child abuse.

– Lena Hallengren, Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality, Sweden

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