Ending violent discipline in schools

Published: 19 Apr, 2015

Violence against children occurs all over the world, and it takes many forms – bullying, corporal punishment, sexual abuse and even homicide. Whether this violence takes place in secret, behind closed doors, or out in the open, much of it is never reported. Its survivors often suffer in silence and pass on this brutal legacy to another generation. Preventing violence against children begins with a better understanding of its magnitude, and of its causes and effects.

A new report from UNICEF draws on data from 190 countries in order to shed light on a largely undocumented issue. According to the report’s findings, about two thirds of children worldwide (almost 1 billion) between ages 2 and 14 are subjected to physical punishment by their caregivers on a regular basis. And yet only about one third of adults worldwide believe that physical punishment of some kind is necessary to properly raise or educate a child.

In Ghana, UNICEF is joining in the effort to eliminate violent discipline in schools, an accepted practice for generations, and one that persists, despite new laws against it. A few teachers are leading the way in the effort to change both attitudes and behaviors.

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