Non-violent childhoods: Moving on from corporal punishment in the Baltic Sea Region
Ten out of 11 countries in the Baltic Sea Region have prohibited corporal punishment by law: Sweden was the first country in the world to enact a legal ban in 1979; Finland achieved prohibition in 1983; Norway in 1987; Denmark in 1997; Latvia in 1998; Germany in 2000; Iceland in 2003; Poland in 2010; Estonia in 2015, and Lithuania adopted a legal ban in February 2017.
The Non-violent Childhoods initiative draws on the significant experience of states in the Baltic Sea Region in bringing the ban from law into practice, ranging from those with over 30 years experience implementing the ban to those that have just recently embarked on this journey. The overall objective is to promote the full implementation of the legal ban of corporal punishment through collaborative, multi-stakeholder planning and action. National consultations are being held in Sweden (May 2017), Finland (June 2017), Latvia (October 2017), Estonia (November 2017) and Poland (November/December 2017), and a series of thematic expert consultations will be convened in the first half of 2018.
Based on this combined learning from the Baltic Sea Region, guidance materials will be prepared to convey key messages and best practices with global relevance for bringing national laws into practice. This will include a general guide on implementing prohibition of corporal punishment, as well as materials focused on specific themes and target groups:
1) Communication of the ban on corporal punishment in the home and its purpose as a preventive and educational measure (and not aimed at criminalisation);
2) Effective campaigning to raise awareness of the law, children's right to protection from corporal punishment and the dangers associated with its use;
3) Parenting programmes and the promotion of non-violent discipline options for parents and other carers; and
4) Guidance for service providers in different fields such as health, education and social services.
The project is led by the Children at Risk Unit of the Council of the Baltic Sea States, in cooperation with the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children. National project partners are: the Ministry of Social Affairs in Estonia, the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health in Finland, the Ministry of Welfare in Latvia, the Ombudsman for Children’s Rights in Poland, and the Coordination on the Rights of the Child in the Ministry of Health and Social Affairs in Sweden. The project is implemented with the expertise of a reference group with the participation of the Council of Europe, Save the Children Sweden and the Swedish Institute alongside national experts, Ombudsoffices for Children, Chancellors of Justice and other human rights structures. Representatives and experts from all the countries in the Baltic Sea Region, including children, will be involved.
The outcomes of the initiative will be presented at a European conference in late 2018.
Visit the project website to read more about the initiative and activities.