Corporal punishment rampant in St. Lucia – Human Services Director

By Samuel Sukhnandan, SNO Reporter

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Human Services Director Elizabeth Lewis. Photo credit: The Voice Newspaper (St. Lucia).

Human Services Director Elizabeth Lewis. Photo credit: The Voice Newspaper (St. Lucia).

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.

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12 comments

  1. My questions to the UN staffers who did the case study are: How many St. Lucians were polled in this study? Who were the persons polled? What areas of the island were polled and what mechanisms were used to conduct the poll?
    There is a vast difference between abuse and spanking a child for a wrong that they have done. I need to ask this question. How many polls have been done to ascertain if sending a child in a corner for time out works? Also what study that have been carried out to ascertain the corilation of non corporal punishment in their live as it pertain to crime?
    I am of the view since the proponents of the outlaw of corporal punishment at schools and the home, the world have seen a much greater onset of youth criminal deviancy.
    Growing up I know if I committed an infraction, my punishment would be a good cut tail and I would know not to do so again. Some may want to blame parents, however I would put the greater blame on governments and institutions who want to tell parents how to parent and discipline their children.
    In ending let me state that what this mother did to her daughter in the video which went viral was not discipline but rather this was child abuse.

    (3)(0)
  2. Back in the day , you would be afraid to do something in school because the principal will kane you , now students want to beat teachers because there is nothing that can be done . I would never miss my cerfew because i know is a beating i would get, now with the "RIGHTS of a child" privacy and shit we have numerous teenage pregnancies , and MALAVEAH children all over the place , no respect for authority , no respect for themselves . I'm sure Mrs. Lewis as a child you got some whip , if your parents had placed you in a corner with time out and all this bullhock you would not be where you are today .
    not withstanding there are cases of abuse in St.Lucia but let us not be like the US with this child abuse nonsense when you parents hit you with their hand choops

    (3)(1)
  3. Republic of Laborie,

    I would like to see the "study" which says the majority of St. Lucians would like to see corporal punishment come to an end.

    (1)(0)
  4. To prove a point, a survey should be made to find the differences between the disciplined child through physical punishment and verbal discipline. I can attest to these differences in behavior between todays and yesterdays kids. Todays kids receive much less licks and behave more unruly .

    (0)(0)
  5. Spare the rod and spoil the child. The greatest foolishness I've ever heard. A proper and controlled smacking is deserved at times. Never go overboard like a crazed fanatic.
    Trust me it has made people grown and respectable and not dreaded gang filthy criminals that we are currently breeding.
    Stop following the USA, they can afford it we cannot it in this poor island of ours.

    (2)(1)
  6. IT IS NOT HISTORICAL DIRECTOR IT IS BIBLICAL. GET IT RIGHT....

    (7)(3)
  7. a lot of parents have no idea how to work around children the only way they no is by beating them that dose not solve the problem

    (4)(3)
  8. That is spanking....

    At what time does spanking, go over to abuse.

    If one terribly upset at that moment, take a five!
    Say; I will deal with this later....
    Sometimes one could talk, to explain a point; not because you are on control must you resort to physical punisment.
    Tammarind wip is what I got from my mom & dad; I did not, and now almost seventy, I do not see it as ..... abuse.

    To each his/her own.

    (8)(1)
  9. What programs or services do these directors or government have in place to help parents deal with an out of control child. St. Lucia as a whole are just followers. There is a big difference between abuse and discipline. In my opinion if a mom smacks a child give them a few strokes without putting their blood out or leaving bruises that's discipline, on the other hand if any parent kicks, burn, draw blood break limbs then that's definitely abuse. St. Lucia is a mess as it is with the crime rate only imagine if people can no longer discipline their kids.

    (17)(0)
  10. I hate when people come to use trite sayings in comments but in this case I will have to use it. It bothers me that only when something drastic happens that these "directors" come out on TV and give all those statistics. We as at. Lucians are still very ignorant on so many things.. So why don't these "directors" come out more often to "educate" (trite comment) the people. You cannot tell ppl how to raise their children. A mother beating her kid will never see it as abuse (since we want to be so politically correct) and more as a form of discipline. Let ppl know that these services are available so they can report as need be. Put public service announcements out.. Partner with Che Campeche to make funny yet informative shows about the "taboo" subjects in our community. Be proactive instead of reactive. With that said I find it weird that somebody do not know who or where this video circulated from.

    (11)(0)
  11. There is a difference between abuse and disclipining a child. Like everything else we were all children too and we know what we do to get beaten in fact at times thats what deters us. I am against beating a child to the point of hospitalization and certainly against sexual abuse but i believe sometimes it is necessary especially as the child is growing up to give a little smack on the hand hen they doing wrong after you have explained the reasons over but after you must still enforce the reason behind the smack not beating for beating sake. But we need to look at the countries which has abolished corporeal punishment to see how much better the children are behaving and then see whether or not it is a feasible replacement

    (17)(1)

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