20 Feb 2009

NORTHERN Ireland Commissioner for Children and Young People, Patricia Lewsley, today pledged to continue efforts to end the physical punishment of children.

Speaking after the Court of Appeal decision not to end the legal hitting of children the Commissioner said it was important to remember that children needed protection.

“I am deeply disappointed that my appeal was turned down.

“Although they said my arguments about physical punishment were persuasive they did not take them into consideration when they made their judgment

“Instead their judgment was based on the court saying that I am not a victim within the Human Rights Act.

“If I, as Commissioner for Children and Young People, can’t speak up for them, who can?” she said.

Ms Lewsley said that it has already been acknowledged in court that it was important that she brings this challenge.

“The Assembly created the post of Commissioner to promote and safeguard the rights and best interests of children and young people. I would have been failing in that duty if I had not challenged the Government on this issue.

“My team and I will be examining the detail of today’s judgment, as there are many issues now to consider.

“We want the message to be clear that we believe hitting children is wrong. It has been already banned in more than 50 countries worldwide, all the children’s commissioners in the UK agree, and the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child has said it should be banned.”

MEDIA ENQUIRIES For more information please contact Andrew McGall, Communication Officer at NICCY on 028 9031 1616 or   communications@niccy.org