Group urges blanket ban on hitting children
on 21/09/2013 00:00:00
The document, which focuses on the lives of 3-year-olds, said that in general, parents are warm and encouraging to their children, and show low levels of aggression.
However, it stressed that "aggressive and punitive techniques such as smacking or shouting" are used by a significant 45% of the 11,000 parents and primary caregivers involved in the nationwide study.
The finding comes less than a month after the Children's Rights Alliance made a formal complaint to the Council of Europe over the continued use of sma-cking in some Irish households.
The group said that the issue is in breach of the 2001 Children's Act which removed a parent's right to use "reasonable and moderate chastisement".
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, Children's Rights Alliance chief executive Tanya Ward said that under the Council of Europe's rules, Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald must respond to the complaint by next Saturday.
And noting the latestresearch on the subject, she said that an outright ban on smacking children should be considered as it will remove any grey areas over whether the disciplinary measure can be used.
"Given that this is self-reporting of something which is usually seen in a negative light, we would ask could this figure be even higher in reality," said Ms Ward.
"It is past time that Ireland acts on this information and works to end all violence against all children in all settings."
Ms Fitzgerald has previously revealed that the blanket ban is under review, but has said that a balance needs to be struck between effective parenting and criminal sanctions on parents who use excessive force.
Among the other details highlighted in the major ESRI report, which is part of a series of documents following children through their lives, also found that the recession is leading to a drastic increase in stress levels among families.
The research said two out of every three parents with young children are struggling to cope financially, up from 41% in 2008.
Children in families facing financial problems are more at risk of health conditions, the report said, while behavioural difficulties in later life have been linked with stress levels around children during their early years.
Speech and language needs cutbacks
* Two out of every three toddlers with speech and language problems are not receiving any help for their conditions.
The "worrying" service failure, which can result in serious lifelong difficulties for those affected, has been identified in the latest ESRI Growing Up In Ireland study.
Chapter five of the update report said 36% of three-year-old girls and 27% of boys the same age who live with conditions such as stutters, stammers, and other speech impediments, receive no help from the State.
Speech and language research makes it clear that any developmental delays or speaking issues that go unchecked in early life can go on to cause significant problems as the child grows older.
However, HSE budget cuts and related recruitment embargoes mean thousands of children are waiting more than two years to access supports meant to be in place to help overcome the conditions.