Committee on the Rights of the Child: Australia

Session 060 (2012)

(28 August 2012, CRC/C/AUS/CO/4, Concluding observations on fourth report, paras. 7, 8, 43, 44, 45, 46 and 47)

"While welcoming the State party’s efforts to implement the concluding observations on its previous report (CRC/C/15/Add.268), it is concerned that some of the recommendations contained therein have not been fully addressed. 

"The Committee urges the State party to take all necessary measures to effectively address the recommendations contained in the concluding observations on the combined second and third periodic reports that have yet to be implemented, particularly those on the reservation to article 37(c) of the Convention, legislation, coordination, respect for the views of the child, freedom of association, corporal punishment, and the administration of juvenile justice. 

"The Committee regrets that notwithstanding its previous recommendation (CRC/C/15/Add.268, para. 36), corporal punishment, in the home and some schools and alternative care settings, remains lawful throughout the State party under the label of so-called ‘reasonable chastisement’. 

"The Committee reiterates its previous recommendation (CRC/C/15/Add.268, para. 36) that the State party: 

a) take all appropriate measures to explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in homes, in public and private schools, detention centres and alternative care settings in all states and territories; 

b) strengthen and expand awareness-raising and education campaigns, in order to promote positive and alternative forms of discipline and respect for children’s rights, with the involvement of children, while raising awareness about the adverse consequences of corporal punishment. 

"In addition, the Committee recommends that the State party: 

a) ensure that ‘reasonable chastisement’ is not used as defence to a charge of assault of a child; 

b) ensure the training of all professionals working with or for children, including law enforcement, medical, education professionals, to promptly identify, address and report all cases of violence against children; 

c) consider undertaking an independent study on the probable linkages between domestic violence and corporal punishment. 

"The Committee is gravely concerned at the high levels of violence against women and children prevailing in the country and notes that there is an inherent risk that the coexistence of domestic violence, lawful corporal punishment, bullying, and other forms of violence in the society are interlinked, conducing to an escalation and exacerbation of the situation…. 

"Emphasising the State party’s obligations under articles 19 and 37(a) of the Convention and the Committee’s general comment No. 13 (2011) on the right of the child to freedom from all forms of violence, the Committee urges the State party to develop federal legislation as a general framework to reduce violence and promote the enactment of similar and complementary legislation at state and territory level. It also recommends that the State party adopt a specific plan of action to make operational the provisions under the National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and Their Children (2010-2022), including such measures as: …

e) monitoring the implementation of anti-violence measures (including corporal punishment and bullying in schools, through the Internet, and in other settings) within specific plans and as part of the 3-year action plan of the National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children."

Read more from Session 060 (2012)

Session 040 (2005)

(20 October 2005, Concluding observations on second and third report, CRC/C/15/Add.268, paras. 5, 35 and 36)

"The Committee notes with satisfaction that most of its concerns and recommendations (CRC/C/15/Add.79) made upon the consideration of the State party’s initial report (CRC/C/8/Add.31) in 1997 have been addressed. However, it notes that some concerns and recommendations have been insufficiently or partly addressed regarding, inter alia, ... corporal punishment....

"The Committee notes with concern that corporal punishment in the home is lawful throughout Australia under the label “reasonable chastisement” and other similar provisions in states’ legislation. Furthermore, the Committee is concerned that while corporal punishment has been prohibited in government schools and some private ones in most states and territories, it is still lawful in many private education institutions and in both government and private schools in South Australia and the Northern Territory.

"The Committee recommends that the State party:

a) take appropriate measures to prohibit corporal punishment at home and in public and private schools, detention centres and all alternative care settings in all states and territories;

b) strengthen awareness-raising and education campaigns, with the involvement of children, in order to promote positive, non-violent forms of discipline and respect for children’s rights, while raising awareness about the negative consequences of corporal punishment."

Read more from Session 040 (2005)

Session 016 (1997)

(10 October 1997, CRC/C/15/Add.79, Concluding observations on initial report, paras. 15 and 26)

"The Committee expresses its concern about the lack of prohibition in local legislation of the use of corporal punishment, however light, in schools, at home and in institutions; in the view of the Committee this contravenes the principles and provisions of the Convention, in particular articles 3, 5, 6, 19, 28 (2), 37 (a), (c), and 39. The Committee is also concerned about the existence of child abuse and violence within the family.

"The Committee suggests that the State party take all appropriate measures, including of a legislative nature, to prohibit corporal punishment in private schools and at home. The Committee also suggests that awarenessraising campaigns be conducted to ensure that alternative forms of discipline are administered in a manner consistent with the child’s human dignity and in conformity with the Convention. The Committee also believes that cases of abuse and ill-treatment of children, including sexual abuse within the family, should be properly investigated, sanctions applied to perpetrators and publicity given to decisions taken. Further measures should be taken with a view to ensuring the physical and psychological recovery and social reintegration of the victims of abuse, neglect, ill-treatment, violence or exploitation, in accordance with article 39 of the Convention."

Read more from Session 016 (1997)
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