Corporal punishment still allowed despite UN commission’s report

Maltese law does not preclude beatings in homes as long that it is done 'within reasonable limits'

Ten months after the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child called on Malta to remove corporal punishment, no steps have been taken yet to table an amendment in the laws.

Currently, Maltese law prohibits children from being physically beaten in schools, but the law does not preclude beating in homes, as long as this is done ‘within reasonable limits.’

Malta’s stand on this issue has long been criticised, particularly by numerous experts in the field and even by the Children’s Commissioner Helen D’Amato.

Contacted by sister newspaper Illum, D’Amato insisted that beatings are never the solution for discipline, and argued that they have long promoted positive upbringing with parents.

‘Our office has long called for the amendment of the reasonable chastisement law, as currently it does not prohibit all forms of beatings. The law must insist that no physical punishment is accepted. We are stressing that we have zero tolerance to the use of violence,’ Children’s commissioner, Helen D’Amato told ILLUM newspaper.

The Ministry for Family is preparing a charter for children rights and the introduction of a comprehensive legal framework through the introduction of a Children’s Act.

However, quizzed on whether this act will prohibit corporal punishment, a ministry spokesperson dribbled the question and merely said that “this Act will include rights and laws which would give children a true voice in society.”

Read more in today’s issue of ILLUM.