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A United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) study conducted earlier this year has found that a majority of Saint Lucians would like to see that corporal punishment come to an end.
But Director of Human Services Elizabeth Lewis told St. Lucia News Online (SNO) today that despite this recent study, statistics show that corporal punishment remains rampant in St. Lucia.
“Lots of persons still see this as “the be all and end all” through discipline. But we still don’t think that corporal punishment is the way to discipline a child,” she asserted.
Lewis said her department has recognised that the roots of corporal punishment are historical, but revealed that it remains a challenge in trying to convince persons to do otherwise.
The human service director said her department deals with many of these cases each day, some of which are settled and others are taken to court for reasons beyond the department’s control.
Several parents continue to face prosecution for physical abuse, neglect, sexual abuse and many other illegal activities perpetrated on their children.
Speaking on a recent event, where a video of a mother beating her child with the use of a tree branch going viral, Lewis said her department is yet to locate and identify the family.
However, investigations are still continuing and once the family is located, the department will render assistance to both the mother and child, so as to reduce any chances of it reoccurring.
“People don’t like to hear the word abuse, but it certainly is, because you are inflicting pain on another human being. None of us would like that even as adults,” Lewis said in response to the video.
Meanwhile, a social worker who asked not to be named said that the Ministry of Human Services reportedly deals with close to six cases of different types of abuse perpetrated on children each day.
The social worker said the situation is troubling, noting that a majority of these reported cases are either physical and or sexual abuse of children, done to them by their parents and relatives.
Since the video of the alleged child abuse went viral on the internet, it has sparked greater discourse on this issue, with a number of persons showing support for the old way of disciplining a child.
However, a number of persons are also equally against this type of punishment.