Let us end the culture of violence

The European Court judgment that the repeated physical punishment of a child by a parent is an infringement of human rights highlights two particular aspects of this unfinished debate.

First, evidence and experience show that physical punishment, however minor, doesn't work. Indeed, it invites retaliation and if the child is beaten at home, he or she will beat someone else, often at school.

Second, since violence in society is endemic, there is a desperate need for a culture-change. That may be best achieved through children and with non-violence education.

The Forum on Children and Violence has started a national project entitled "Towards a non violent society". Checkpoints for Schools will be the first in a series of publications designed to raise awareness, provide a means of auditing current practice and give guidance on further action.

The campaign against violence of all forms is of central relevance to the current education debate, particularly as teachers commonly point out that the greatest obstruction to raising standards is bad behaviour.

George Varnava

Project co-ordinator Checkpoints for Schools 5 Wheatlands Lane Newbury Berkshire

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