Sun | May 19, 2019

Time to let go of corporal punishment – Gordon Harrison

Published:Wednesday | December 5, 2018 | 12:25 AMAlbert Ferguson
Gordon Harrison



Children's Advocate Diahann Gordon Harrison said it will take a change in culture and behaviour for Jamaica to effectively eradicate corporal punishment, which has been a topic of heated debate over the years.

“I think it’s going to take time because it’s a culture shift, it’s a behaviour change and behaviour change always takes time,” explained Gordon Harrison at the opening session of the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN) second regional Caribbean conference at the Hilton Rose Hall Hotel in Montego Bay, St James on Sunday.

To date, a total of 54 countries have banned corporal punishment as part of measures to end violence against children. Some 32 of those countries are in Europe, seven in Africa, four in the Asian Pacific region, one in the Middle East and 10 in Latin America.

According to Gordon Harrison, the Office of the Children's Advocate (OCA) sees corporal punishment as inflicting violence on children, and wants parents and caregivers to consider other options to discipline children.

“The position of the OCA is that corporal punishment is a form of violence,” said Gordon Harrison.

“I wish to be very clear to say that we are not against disciplining children, but we don’t think that corporal punishment is the only form of discipline that exists. It’s about being creative and using methods that actually work, encouraging children to pattern positive behaviour and to deal with issues in a very reasonable and measured way.”