JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA) says a cultural shift, as well as behaviour change, is critical to eliminating corporal punishment in Jamaica.
  • Children’s Advocate, Diahann Gordon Harrison, says the OCA views corporal punishment as “inflicting a form of violence against children”, noting that there are alternatives to curbing indiscipline.

The Office of the Children’s Advocate (OCA) says a cultural shift, as well as behaviour change, is critical to eliminating corporal punishment in Jamaica.

Children’s Advocate, Diahann Gordon Harrison, says the OCA views corporal punishment as “inflicting a form of violence against children”, noting that there are alternatives to curbing indiscipline.

She was speaking to journalists following the opening of the Second Regional Caribbean Conference of the International Society for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (ISPCAN), at the Hilton Rose Hall Hotel in Montego Bay, St. James, on December 2.

“The position of the Office of the Children’s Advocate is that corporal punishment is a form of violence, and I wish to be very clear to say that we aren’t 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 with encouraging children to pattern positive behaviour and to deal with issues in a very reasonable and measured way,” she argued.

In the meantime, Mrs. Gordon Harrison, who is also National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons for Jamaica, said the regional conference provides a unique opportunity to advance agendas that will, ultimately, redound to the protection of children internationally.

The ISPCAN conference, which ends on Wednesday (December 5), is being held in partnership with the OCA, under the theme, ‘Child Protection Realities within a Changing Caribbean and World’.

Other countries participating in the event include Switzerland, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States (US).

ISPCAN is the world’s premier society for professionals working to prevent child abuse and child neglect.