21 Dec 2007

THE Northern Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Patricia Lewsley, will carry on with her challenge to protect children and young people from all forms of physical punishment.

Ms Lewsley said “The court’s decision on the Judicial Review of Government’s failure to stop all physical punishment was a breach of children’s basic right to be protected from harm.

“Although the Judgment is disappointing, it is important that the Judge recognised today, that my action in taking this challenge was entirely responsible.

I would be failing in my duty to safeguard the rights and best interests of the 500,000 children and young people that I represent if I did not challenge this ruling.

“My team and I will be examining the detail of today’s Judgment, as there are many points of law to consider.

"I will want to make sure that by appealing I am exercising the powers granted to me by the Northern Ireland Assembly; powers which mean I am the only champion children and young people have to make sure their rights and best interests are protected.

“However, we want the message to be clear that we believe hitting children is wrong. It has been already banned in over fifty countries worldwide and all the Commissioners in the United Kingdom are clear that we want all physical punishment of children and young people to stop.”

ENDS

Issued by Andrew McGall (Andrew@niccy.org or 028 9031 1616)