Saddened by the tragic news of the death of a four-year-old boy due to a severe beating, UNICEF is reiterating its call for the Government of Jamaica to ban the use of corporal punishment in all settings and to promote non-violent forms of discipline.
Available data speaks clearly to the fact that corporal punishment is prevalent throughout Jamaica.
Findings from the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS) 2011 indicate that seven out of 10 Jamaican children under age 15 are subjected to violent punishment at home.
The term “violent punishment” includes psychological aggression (shouting etc.) and physical punishment. MICS data also shows that children between the tender ages of two and four are more violently punished than older children.
Children in the poorest families are almost five times as likely than those in the wealthiest to suffer severe physical punishment.
More boys are violently punished than girls, and more children in the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA) are violently punished than children in rural areas.
According to the Jamaica Survey of Living Conditions 2018, 67 per cent of children ages zero to eight are being slapped, and 18 per cent beaten with an implement. In this age cohort, children between the ages of three and five are more likely to be slapped – approximately 8 out of 10.
“Discipline is necessary for children, but there are non-violent ways to raise respectful, well-behaved children,” says Mariko Kagoshima, UNICEF Jamaica Representative. “Discipline should not cause any harm to children and it should never be a death sentence.”
UNICEF is urging the Government to move decisively to outlaw corporal punishment in schools and homes. UNICEF remains committed to supporting initiatives that help parents and caregivers to learn positive, non-violent ways to communicate with and discipline their young children.
UNICEF is also calling on all Jamaicans to do everything within their power to protect every child’s right to be free of violence in all forms.