Ending the Mistreatment of Children

For six years I have worked for a small international organization called the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children.

As a young person in RC, it was clear to me that ending the oppression and mistreatment of children is key to ending oppressive societies. A modest reduction in the mistreatment of young people has a big effect on how much they can resist and think about other oppressions as they go through the rest of their lives, and on how big and full their lives can be.

For most children in the world, violence is an everyday experience. It is part of their oppression as smaller, more vulnerable, less respected people. Most of the violence comes in the form of “punishment” from adults who are close to them and is usually considered completely acceptable by the world around them.

In the Global Initiative we work with governments; big non-governmental organisations; world organisations like UNICEF, Save the Children, and the World Health Organisation; human rights organisations; and others to persuade countries to change their laws so that the violent, humiliating punishment of children is forbidden and to follow up with a programme of information, policies, and support.

We also support the national campaigns against violent and humiliating punishment of children that already exist in many countries of the world.

When a law is changed and followed up with a good programme (which is currently happening in three to five countries a year), a reliable reduction in the violence aimed at children continues over decades. Adults begin to re-think their relationship to children and recognise them as people. The status of children in society improves.

‘The Global Initiative employs only eight people (three of whom are RCers) but in some ways leads the world and all the big organisations on stopping the mistreatment of children. It is an example of how, with clear and correct policy, a small group can play a pivotal role in affecting the agenda for wider action. We three RCers play a particular role in making the relationships among the staff and with our partner organisations go well and in handling restimulations and not being confused or set back by them.

My long-term goal is to achieve a significant reduction in the mistreatment of a large number of children. I hope this will help tip the balance toward a global population that can think and can create caring, humane societies for everyone.

Bess Herbert, with Tina Foulkes and Elinor Milne

London, England

(Present Time 189, October 2017)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00