Violence against Children

This section relates to articles19, 24, 28, 34, 37 and 39 of the UNCRC and Section E of the Concluding Observations.

Torture and Other Cruel or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

Violence should not be used against you.

The government should:NICCY_PRINCIPLE-02_Character-03 - cropped.jpg

  • Ban the use of electrical discharge weapons such as Tasers and AEPs on children and young people.
  • Make sure restraint isn’t used on you as a form of punishment, but only as a last resort, to stop you from causing harm to yourself or others.
  • Ban the use of pain techniques, which involve the deliberate use of pain or force to restrain a child .
  • Collect information on the use of restraint and other forms of discipline to make sure this is reasonable.

What is Restraint?

This is a way of using physical force or restricting movement to stop someone doing something.

Corporal Punishment

The government should:

  • Ban physical punishment, which includes hitting and smacking in the family, and don’t allow legal excuses for hitting children as a form of discipline.
  • Make sure that physical punishment is banned in all schools, and all places where children are looked after.
  • Promote the use of positive, non-violent ways of disciplining children. This should stop physical punishment from being acceptable.

Violence, Abuse and Neglect

NICCY_PRINCIPLE-01_Character-04_R01.jpg The government should:

  • Make sure that laws properly protect you from abuse and neglect.
  • Gather information on violence, abuse and neglect of children, to help end it.
  • Make sure there are enough social workers to protect and support children who are at risk of violence and abuse.
  • Listen to children, particularly when they are involved in any kind of court proceedings.
  • Sign up to the Council of Europe convention on Preventing Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence.

Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

The government should:

  • Collect and publish detailed information on child abuse and exploitation.
  • Have good strategies to prevent children being abused (including online abuse), and have services that deal with all the needs of children who are victims, or at risk of sexual exploitation or abuse.
  • Act on the recommendations from the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) in Northern Ireland
  • Make sure the police and courts are doing everything they can to find and deal with offenders, and help the children affected.
  • Consider fully signing the Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse.


What is the Independent Inquiry (MARSHALL Report)?

Watch this video to find out more.

Harmful Practices

The government should:

  • If you are aged 16-17 you should only be able to marry in exceptional circumstances, and only when you freely decide to. 
  • Do more to protect you from harmful practices like forced marriage and female genital mutilation. This should include, training professionals (ie doctors, nurses), raising public awareness, supporting victims, and prosecuting those guilty of these harmful practices.
  • Ensure that no baby or child is subjected to unnecessary medical or surgical treatment. This includes intersex children whose anatomy might not fit the usual description of boy or girl. Intersex children and families should get proper support and treatment, and all health professionals should be better educated about this.

“Intersex” is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.

Freedom from All Forms of Violence

The government should:

  • Do more to tackle bullying in schools, including though human rights lessons, building respect for people’s differences, improving conflict resolution skills, recording bullying incidents, and involving students in efforts to tackle bullying.
  • Train children, teachers and families on the safe use of information and communication technologies, ie social media, raise awareness among children on the severe effects that online bullying can have on their peers, and increase the involvement of social media sites in the efforts to combat cyber-bullying.
  • Effectively protect all children from violence, from paramilitary-style groups, as well as from recruitment into these groups.

What is Conflict Resolution?

This means using peaceful methods such as discussion and making agreements to deal with disagreements.

If you want to find out more you can contact a member of the Participation team