Last updated: July 2015
Flag of Pitcairn Islands Country report for Pitcairn Islands

Summary of law reform necessary to achieve full prohibition

Law reform has been achieved. Corporal punishment is prohibited in all settings, including the home.

Legality of corporal punishment

Home

Corporal punishment is prohibited in the home under the Children Ordinance 2003 as amended 2009. Article 6 punishes abuse of children; article 7 punishes assault and repeals the common law defence for the use of force: “(1) Everyone who assaults any child is liable: (a) on conviction on information before the Supreme Court to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or to a maximum fine of $1000 or to both; or (b) on conviction before the Magistrate’s Court in its summary jurisdiction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years or to a maximum fine of $250 or to both. (2) The common law rules permitting the use of force for punishment of a child are abolished.” The prohibition applies to any person who has the custody, care or charge of a child (art. 5). The Constitution 2010 confirms the right of everyone to respect for physical and mental integrity (art. 3), to have his or her dignity respected and protected (art. 4) and not to be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (art. 5).

 

Alternative care settings

Corporal punishment is unlawful in alternative care settings under article 7 of the Children Ordinance 2003 and articles 3, 4 and 5 of the Constitution 2010 (see under “Home”).

 

Day care

Corporal punishment is unlawful in early childhood care and in day care for older children under article 7 of the Children Ordinance 2003 and articles 3, 4 and 5 of the Constitution 2010 (see under “Home”).

 

Schools

Corporal punishment is prohibited in schools under article 7 of the Children Ordinance 2003 and articles 3, 4 and 5 of the Constitution 2010 (see under “Home”).

 

Penal institutions

Corporal punishment is unlawful as a disciplinary measure in penal institutions. There is no provision for it in the Prisons Ordinance 2001 and article 9 of the Constitution 2010 confirms the right of all persons deprived of their liberty “to be treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person”. Article 7 of the Children Ordinance 2003 and articles 3, 4 and 5 of the Constitution 2010 also apply (see under “Home”).

 

Sentence for crime

Corporal punishment is unlawful as a sentence for crime. There is no provision for judicial corporal punishment in the Justice Ordinance 2000, the Sentencing Ordinance 2002 or the Summary Offences Ordinance 2000. Article 5 of the Constitution 2010 applies (see under “Home”).

 

Universal Periodic Review of the UK’s human rights record

The UK was examined in the first cycle of the Universal Periodic Review in 2008 (session 1). The following recommendations were made:[1]

“To consider further measures in order to address the problem of violence against children, including corporal punishment. (Italy)

“To reconsider its position about the continued legality of corporal punishment against children. (Sweden)

“To consider going beyond current legislation and to ban corporal punishment, also in the private sector and in its Overseas Territories. (France)”

The Government rejected the recommendations for law reform, accepted the recognition to consider going beyond current legislation in relation to protecting children from violence but rejected “the implication that it is failing in this regard through the application of its policy on corporal punishment”.[2]

Examination in the second cycle of the UPR took place in 2012 (session 13). The following recommendations were made:[3]

“Reconsider its position about the continued legality of corporal punishment of children (Sweden);

“Take measures to ensure the freedom of children from physical punishment in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (Norway);

“Introduce a ban on all corporal punishment of children as recommended by the CRC and other treaty bodies (Finland)”

The Government rejected the recommendations.[4]


Prevalence/attitudinal research for Pitcairn Islands in the last 10 years

None identified.

Footnotes

[1] 23 May 2008, A/HRC/8/25, Report of the working group, paras. 56(2), 56(3), 56(4) and 56(5)

[2] 25 August 2008, A/HRC/8/25/Add.1, Report of the working group: Addendum, paras. 28, 29 and 30

[3] 6 July 2012, A/HRC/21/9, Report of the working group, paras. 110(78), 10(79) and 110(80)

[4] 17 September 2012, A/HRC/21/9/Add.1, Report of the working group: Addendum, annex

Child population

9 (UK Government, 2007)

National and regional advocacy for law reform

n/a

Forthcoming treaty body examinations and UPRs

Information relating to the UK:

Universal Periodic Review (UPR): 2017, session 27, deadline for briefing has passed

Committee Against Torture (CAT): Date of examination to be confirmed, deadling for briefing (LOIPR) has passed (25 January 2016)

Notes

The Pitcairn Islands is a British Overseas Territory. As such, it has its own constitution and domestic laws and substantial responsibility for its internal affairs, including responsibility for the protection and promotion of human rights and a duty to ensure that local law complies with the relevant convention and court judgments and is non-discriminatory. The UK Government has responsibility for international relations, internal security, defence, good governance and the wellbeing of the people.[1]

For extracts from the concluding observations of treaty bodies concerning corporal punishment of children, see the downloadable country reports for the Pitcairn Islands accessible via the links above or go to the UK country report.



[1] [2014], CRC/C/GBR/5, Fifth state party report, annex, para. 2

This is an automatic translation service. Extracts from laws, treaty body recommendations and Universal Periodic Review outcomes are unofficial translations.