A worship resource published by the Churches’ Network for Non-violence and the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children invites church leaders and Christian communities to help end corporal punishment of children. The Churches’ Network for Non-violence includes member churches of the World Council of Churches (WCC).
The resource titled Ending corporal punishment of children – a handbook for worship and gatherings, includes Bible study, prayers, vigils, liturgies and reflections and can be used for private or collective use. It can be adapted for the local context or used to trigger ideas for further studies or reflections. It is made available online to be used free of charge.
“Corporal punishment violates children’s rights and contributes to the perpetuation of violence,” states Marta Santos Pais, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General on Violence against Children, in an introduction to the resource.
“Religious leaders and communities command an extraordinary moral authority and influence towards ending violence against children. They demonstrate deep respect for children’s dignity and fundamental rights, and play a crucial role in preventing and alleviating children’s suffering, supporting their families and creating protective and caring environments for the most vulnerable children,” Pais adds.
The resource quotes Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who said, “Progress towards abolishing corporal punishment is being made, but millions of the world’s children still suffer from humiliating acts of violence and these violations of their rights as human beings can have serious lifelong effects.”
“Children can be disciplined without violence that instils fear and misery, and I look forward to church communities working with other organizations to make progress towards ending all forms of violence against children,” adds Tutu.
“Faith-based support for reform is an integral part of the global movement for prohibition of all corporal punishment of children. A growing numbers of religious communities consider ending this commonplace violence against children both a moral and religious imperative,” said Chris Dodd of the Churches’ Network for Non-violence.
“There are many examples of Christians working in solidarity with others, bound by principles of compassion and justice and a strong commitment to human rights,” Dodd added.