Country Report for Grenada

LAST UPDATED: February 2020

Summary of necessary legal reform to achieve full prohibition

Prohibition is still to be achieved in the home, some alternative care settings, day care, schools and penal institutions.

Articles 54, 55 and 65 of the Criminal Code 1958 provide for “justifiable force” for the purpose of “correction” of a child. These provisions should be repealed and prohibition enacted of all corporal punishment in all settings, including the family home and all settings where adults have authority over children.

Alternative care – Corporal punishment should be prohibited in all alternative care settings, including informal care, places of safety, emergency care, etc.

Day care – Corporal punishment should be prohibited in all early childhood care (nurseries, crèches, children’s centres, etc) and all formal day care for older children (after-school childcare, childminding, day centres, etc).

Schools – Provisions for corporal punishment in the Education Act 2002 should be repealed, in addition to repeal of articles 54, 55 and 65 of the Criminal Code, and prohibition should be enacted in relation to all schools, public and private.

Penal institutions – Corporal punishment should be prohibited as a disciplinary measure in all institutions accommodating children in conflict with the law.

Current legality of corporal punishment

Home

Corporal punishment is lawful in the home. Article 54 of the Criminal Code 1958 states: “Force may be justified in the cases and manner, and subject to the conditions, hereafter in this Title mentioned, on the ground of either of the following matters, namely – … (i) authority to correct a child, servant or other similar person, for misconduct….” Article 55 provides for the limits of “justifiable force or harm”: “Notwithstanding the existence of any matter of justification for force, force cannot be justified as having been used in pursuance of that matter – (a) which is in excess of the limits hereinafter prescribed in the section of this Title relating to that matter; or (b) which in any case extends beyond the amount and kind of force reasonably necessary for the purpose for which force is permitted to be used.” Article 65 sets out the limits for use of force for correction by parents and others with parental authority: “A blow or other force, not in any case extending to a wound, or grievous harm, may be justified for the purpose of correction as follows – (a) a parent may correct his or her legitimate child, being under sixteen years of age, or any guardian acting as a guardian, his ward, being under sixteen years of age, for misconduct or disobedience to any lawful command; (b) a master may correct his servant or apprentice, being under sixteen years of age, for misconduct or default in his or her duty as such servant or apprentice; … (d) a parent or guardian, or a person acting as a guardian, may delegate to any person whom he or she entrusts permanently or temporarily with the governance or custody of his or her child or ward all his or her own authority for correction including the power to determine in what cases correction ought to be inflicted; and such a delegation shall be presumed, except in so far as it may be expressly withheld, in the case of a schoolmaster or a person acting as a schoolmaster, in respect of a child or ward; (e) a person who is authorised to inflict correction as in this section mentioned may, in any particular case, delegate to any fit person the infliction of such correction; and (f) no correction can be justified which is unreasonable in kind or in degree, regard being had to the age and physical and mental condition of the person on whom it is inflicted; and no correction can be justified in the case of a person who, by reason of tender years or otherwise, is incapable of understanding the purpose for which it is inflicted.”

The Domestic Violence Act 2010 defines domestic violence as “any controlling or abusive behaviour that harms the health, safety or well-being of a person or any child” (art. 2) but this is not interpreted as prohibiting all violent punishment in childrearing. The Act places an obligation on relevant professionals to report reasonable suspicions of domestic violence against or witnessed by a child but only “as a result of which the child suffers from injury” (art. 34). There is no prohibition of corporal punishment in the Child Protection Act 1998 or the Child (Protection and Adoption) Act 2010 (in force 2011).

A referendum in 2016 to amend the Constitution, which would have stated that every citizen had the right “not to be tortured or to suffer cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment”, failed to secure the required two thirds majority.[1] Following the Universal Periodic Review of Grenada in 2015, the Government stated that it could not accept the recommendations to prohibit all corporal punishment because legislation permits it.[2] The 2020 national report to the UPR acknowledged that domestic legislation allowed corporal punishment in the “home, alternative care settings, day care, schools and penal institutions” and stated that the Government would continue to raise awareness against the practice and that that a complete ban on corporal punishment was one of the recommendations coming out of the 2018 Assessment of Child Protection Mechanisms.[3] No mention was made of law reform.

 

Alternative care settings

Corporal punishment is lawful in alternative care settings except in child care services. The Child (Protection and Adoption) Act 2010 (amended 2011) states that a “child in a child care service shall have the following rights (…) (d) to be free from corporal punishment” (art. 97J). Child care services are defined as “(a) a boarding home; (b) a group home; (c) a foster home; (d) a residential home; (e) a training centre; (f) an assessment centre; (g) a children home; or (h) such other service; approved by the Minister pursuant to this Act to provide for the care of children”. The Requirements of the Approval and Licensing of Child Care Homes, Grenada Bureau of Standards GDS 654:2002 prohibit corporal punishment of children in care institutions.

There is no prohibition of corporal punishment in other forms of alternative care, where it is lawful under articles 54, 55 and 65 of the Criminal Code 1958 providing for “justifiable force” by way of “correction” (see under “Home”). The Child (Protection and Adoption) Act 2010 states that a person authorised to care for a child shall “correct and manage the behaviour of the child” and that the Minister may make regulations “regulating the management and discipline of an approved child care service” (art. 148(2)). The Child Protection Act 1998 is silent on the issue.

 

Day care

There is no explicit prohibition of corporal punishment in formal early childhood care or formal day care for older children, where it is lawful under the “authority to correct a child” and provisions for “justifiable force” in the Criminal Code 1958 (see under “Home”).

 

Schools

Corporal punishment is lawful in schools. The Education Act 2002 authorises the use of corporal punishment and punishes its infliction contrary to the specified regulations. Article 53 states: “(1) Subject to subsections (7) and (9), corporal punishment may be administered to a pupil at a school but only – (a) in accordance with section (2); and (b) if no other punishment is considered suitable or effective in the particular case. (2) Corporal punishment must only be administered – (a) by the principal or deputy principal or a teacher specifically designated by the principal for the purpose; (b) in the principal’s office or other private room in the school; (c) using an instrument prescribed by the regulations; and (d) in conformity with any written guidelines issued by the Chief Education Officer. (3) Whenever corporal punishment is administered an entry must be made in a punishment book, which is to be kept in each school for the purpose of indicating the nature and extent of the punishment and the reasons for administering it. (4) A person other than one mentioned in subsection (2)(a) who administers corporal punishment to a pupil on school premises commits an offence. Penalty: A fine of two thousand dollars. (5) A person who administers corporal punishment to a pupil on school premises contrary to subsection (2)(b), (c) or (d) commits an offence. Penalty: A fine of two thousand dollars. (6) A person other than a female who administers corporal punishment to a girl commits an offence. Penalty: A fine of two thousand dollars. (7) The Minister may by order published in the Gazette suspend or abolish corporal punishment in any type of school or in all types of schools and a person who administers corporal punishment contrary to such an order commits an offence. Penalty: A fine of two thousand dollars. (8) An order made under subsection (7) must be laid before Parliament within three months of the date of its making and is subject to annulment by a resolution of Parliament supported by the votes of a majority of the members present and voting. (9) The parent or guardian of a pupil at a school may in writing to the principal of the school state that he or she objects to corporal punishment being administered to the pupil by the school and a person who knowingly administers corporal punishment contrary to such a written objection commits an offence. Penalty: A fine of two thousand dollars.”

Articles 54, 55 and 65 of the Criminal Code 1958 provide for the use of “justifiable force” by teachers for the purpose of “correction” (see under “Home”).

During the Universal Periodic Review of Grenada in 2015, the Government drew attention to the piloting of the UNICEF “Child-Friendly Schools Programme” in several schools and its intention to extend this to all schools, with the aim of removing the need for corporal punishment, but gave no indication that this would be supported by law reform to prohibit corporal punishment.[4]

 

Penal institutions

Corporal punishment is lawful as a disciplinary measure in penal institutions. Article 54, 55 and 65 of the Criminal Code 1958 provide for the use of “justifiable force” for the purpose of “correction” (see under “Home”). Article 35 of the Prisons Act 1980 states that a prisoner found guilty of “mutiny or incitement to mutiny”, “taking part in any assault or attack on a member of the prison staff or on a medical officer” or “aggravated or repeated assault or attack on any other prisoner” is punished by “lawful corporal punishment not exceeding twelve strokes – provided that corporal punishment shall not be imposed without the approval of the Minister”. According to the Prisons Rules 1980 the prisoner must be certified medically fit to undergo the punishment (art. 89). The Juvenile Justice Act 2012, which came into force in 2016, does not explicitly prohibit corporal punishment in penal institutions.

 

Sentence for crime

Corporal punishment as a sentence for a crime is explicitly prohibited under article 64(2) of the Juvenile Justice Act 2012: “A sentence of flogging or whipping shall not be imposed on a child.” The Act defines a child as a person under 18 years of age (art. 2). It came into force in 2016.[5]

Provisions allowing flogging and whipping as a sentence for crime for males in the Criminal Code 1958 are yet to be repealed (art. 70, 75 and 78). We have yet to confirm that the Corporal Punishment (Caning) Ordinance 1960 is still in force and to see the full text.

 

[1] 13 January 2020, A/HRC/WG.6/35/GRD/1, National report to the UPR, paras. 6 and 7

[2] 5 June 2015, A/HRC/29/14/Add.1, Report of the working group: Addendum

[3] 13 January 2020, A/HRC/WG.6/35/GRD/1, National report to the UPR, paras. 123 and 125

[4] 26 January 2015, A/HRC/WG.6/21/GRD/1, National report to the UPR, para. 41

[5] 13 January 2020, A/HRC/WG.6/35/GRD/1, National report to the UPR, paras. 12, 58 and 124

Universal Periodic Review of Grenada’s human rights record

Grenada was examined under the Universal Periodic Review process in 2010 (session 8). During the review, the Government stated that the use of corporal punishment was lawful but restricted under the Education Act 2002.[1] The following recommendations were made:[2]

“Abolish provisions in its domestic legislation that authorize the corporal punishment of children in all places, in particular in detention facilities and in schools (France);

“Adopt a law that prohibits corporal punishment against children in all areas of life (Uruguay);

“Amend the Criminal Code to ensure equal protection of boys and girls from all forms of sexual abuse and exploitation as well as to eliminate corporal punishment provisions from existing laws and to prohibit the use of corporal punishment in places of detention and in schools (Germany)”

The Government rejected the recommendations, stating that “it could not accept them since the use of corporal punishment was permitted under the local laws of Grenada in some instances” and adding that “awareness is being raised regarding the issue and in order to encourage its non-application”.[3]

The second cycle review took place in 2015 (session 21). In its national report, the Government stated:[4] “Grenada is cognisant of the call for the total abolition of corporal punishment. Currently there exists a pilot project in several schools called the ‘Child Friendly Schools Programme’ which facilitates the use of positive behavior management strategies, thereby removing the need for the use of corporal punishment. The feedback from this project has been positive and it is the intention of the Ministry of Education to extend the programme to all of the schools in Grenada.” During the review, the following recommendations were made:[5]

“Pass and implement a comprehensive law banning all corporal punishment against children (Germany);

“Take effective measures to prohibit the use of corporal punishment for minors in schools (Italy);

“Eliminate corporal punishment of children both in public and private life (Netherlands)”

The Government rejected the recommendations, stating:[6] “Grenada cannot yet accept this recommendation because the local laws in some instances permit corporal punishment. However government continues to raise awareness of the issue and to encourage its non-application.”

Third cycle examination took place in 2020 (session 35). Grenada’s national report acknowledged that domestic legislation allowed corporal punishment in the “home, alternative care settings, day care, schools and penal institutions” and stated that the Government would continue to raise awareness against the practice.[7] The following recommendations were extended:[8]

“Abolish all forms of corporal punishment (Cabo Verde);

“Prohibit corporal punishment in its legislation (Montenegro);

“Intensify steps towards prohibition of corporal punishment of children (Georgia)”

The Government will examine the recommendations and respond by the 44th session of the Human Rights Council in June 2020.

 

[1] 16 June 2010, A/HRC/15/12, Report of the working group, para. 25

[2] 16 June 2010, A/HRC/15/12, Report of the working group, paras. 71(61), 71(62) and 71(64)

[3] 1 October 2010, A/HRC/15/L.10, Report of the Human Rights Council on its fifteenth session, para. 510

[4] 26 January 2015, A/HRC/WG.6/21/GRD/1, National report to the UPR, para. 41

[5] 28 January 2015, A/HRC/WG.6/21/L.11, Draft report of the working group, paras. 72(98), 72(99) and 72(100)

[6] 5 June 2015, A/HRC/29/14/Add.1, Report of the working group: Addendum

[7] 13 January 2020, A/HRC/WG.6/35/GRD/1, National report to the UPR, para. 123

[8] 5 February 2020, A/HRC/WG.6/35/L.10 Unedited version, Draft report of the Working Group, paras. 94(136), 94 (137) and 94(138)

Recommendations by human rights treaty bodies

Committee on the Rights of the Child

(22 June 2010, CRC/C/GRD/CO/2, Concluding observations on second report, paras. 5, 6, 32, 33, 59 and 60)

“The Committee welcomes efforts by the State party to implement the Committee’s concluding observations on the State party’s initial report. Nevertheless, the Committee notes with regret that many of these concluding observations have not been significantly addressed.

“The Committee urges the State party to take all necessary measures to address those recommendations it made in its concluding observations on the initial report that have not yet been implemented or sufficiently implemented, in particular on … harmonization of legislation, corporal punishment and juvenile justice, and to provide adequate follow-up to the recommendations contained in the present concluding observations on the second periodic report….

“While the Committee notes the State party’s indication that the use of corporal punishment is discouraged in the 2002 Education Act and that the Standards for Childcare Homes prohibit the use of corporal punishment, it nevertheless recalls the concern expressed in its previous concluding observations (CRC/C/15/Add.121, para. 21) and is concerned that corporal punishment remains lawful in the home, that authorized persons in schools are permitted to administer corporal punishment as a disciplinary measure and that corporal punishment is a sentencing option in the judicial system.

“The Committee recommends that the State party explicitly prohibit by law all forms of violence against children, including corporal punishment, in all settings, including in the family, schools, alternative childcare and places of detention for children, and implement those laws effectively. It also recommends that the State party intensify its awareness-raising campaigns in order to change perceptions regarding corporal punishment and promote alternative forms of discipline in a manner consistent with the child’s human dignity and in accordance with the Convention, especially article 28, paragraph 2. The Committee encourages the State party to take into account the Committee’s general comment No.8 (2006) on the right of the child to protection from corporal punishment and other cruel or degrading forms of punishment and the Report on Corporal Punishment and Human Rights of Children and Adolescents prepared by the Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of the Child of the Organization of American States.

“… The Committee is also concerned that corporal punishment remains a part of the Criminal Code and is not explicitly prohibited in the Juvenile Justice Bill that the State party intends to adopt in 2010….

“The Committee urges the State party to ensure that juvenile justice standards are fully implemented, in particular articles 37 (b), 39 and 40 of the Convention, as well as the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (the Beijing Rules), the United Nations Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency (the Riyadh Guidelines) and the United Nations Rules for the Protection of Juveniles Deprived of their Liberty (the Havana Rules). In particular the Committee recommends that the State party, while taking into account the Committee’s general comment No. 10 (2007) on the administration of juvenile justice: …

  1. e) enact legislation to explicitly prohibit corporal punishment as a sentencing option in the judicial system….”

 

Committee on the Rights of the Child

(28 February 2000, CRC/C/15/Add.121, Concluding observations on initial report, paras. 21 and 28)

“The Committee expresses grave concern that corporal punishment is still widely practised in the State party and that domestic legislation does not prohibit its use. In this regard, the Committee recommends that the State party take all appropriate measures, including of a legislative nature, to prohibit corporal punishment within the family, schools, the juvenile justice and alternative care systems and generally within the society. It further suggests that awareness raising 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, especially article 28.2.

“… The Committee recommends that the State party:

  1. b) … prohibit and eradicate the use of corporal punishment (whipping) in the juvenile justice system….”

 

Human Rights Committee

(14 August 2009, CCPR/C/GRD/CO/1, Concluding observations in the absence of a report, para. 11)

“The Committee is concerned that corporal punishment, including flogging and whipping, is still administered in Grenada in accordance with the Criminal Code, the Prisons Act, and the Education Act of 2002. Particularly worrisome is the whipping of boys as a criminal punishment, and the use of corporal punishment in schools. The Committee further expresses its concern that the law provides for the sentencing of women and girls to solitary confinement in lieu of corporal punishment (arts. 7, 10 and 24).

The State party should immediately eliminate corporal punishment from its law and prohibit its use in places of detention and in schools, as well as in any other institution. Judicial sentences of solitary confinement should not be resorted to.”

None identified.