Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children welcomes the historic abolition of the common law defence of reasonable chastisement in Ireland

New York, 11 November 2015 - “Today, Ireland has taken a decisive step towards the elimination of all forms of violence against children. By abolishing the common law defence of reasonable chastisement, the Houses of the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) have made an unequivocal statement: children’s dignity and physical integrity enjoy the effective protection of the law.

In taking this step, Ireland is contributing to the global movement towards a world where all children are free from violence. World leaders recently agreed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes an explicit target requiring all States to eliminate violence against children. Ireland played a pivotal role in negotiating the 2030 Agenda and it is heartening to see the Government and the Oireachtas take concrete action to make this a reality, in line with Ireland’s international human rights obligations.

It is my hope that other States will now follow Ireland in banning all forms of violence against children and in removing any legal justification legitimizing the use of corporal punishment. Although laws by themselves cannot end violence against children, they provide the foundation on which efforts to change attitudes, behaviours and culture are built.”