The Child Rights Centre organised two public debates in Belgrade on positive parenthood as alternative to corporal punishment of children – on 1 November 2018 in elementary school “Ivan Milutinović”, and on 2 November 2018 in the Second economy school, in partnership with both schools.

The topics discussed at the public debates were focused on improvement of normative framework for banning corporal punishment of children in all settings in Serbia, psychological and social consequences of corporal punishment on children, as well as on the role and place of professionals in promoting positive, non-violent and participatory ways of educating and disciplining a child. Participants of the debate were parents and teachers.

The key note speakers were the following:

  • Vera Despotović, PhD, Consultant at the Child Rights Centre and Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Media and Communication, University Singidunum;
  • Kosana Beker, Consultant of the Child Rights Centre and an independent consultant;
  • Milena Golić Ružić, Programme Manager of the Child Rights Centre.

On this occasion, a number of issues were discussed related to the complexity of the phenomenon and the necessity of introducing an explicit legal ban of corporal punishment of children in all settings in the current social context of Serbia. It was pointed out that there is a need to additionally support parents and the whole society in order to better respond to the challenges that parenthood brings, as well as to continuously work on removing wrong attitudes and strengthening parental competencies and skills. It was concluded that corporal punishment as a way of disciplining children provides children with negative model and ways of solving their mutual problems through conflict, thus contributing to the increase of peer violence. Moreover, such a way of disciplining children influences society as a whole by creating and supporting the “culture of violence”.

This public debate is part of the activities that are implemented in the context of the project “Child Rights in Policy and Practice”, implemented by the Child Rights Centre in partnership with the Save the Children International, funded by the Government of Sweden. This project aims to improve child protection system, as well as structures and mechanisms for monitoring and implementing the rights of the child, including the participation of children in these processes in Serbia. In the context of this project, the Child Rights Centre raises public awareness of negative consequences of corporal punishment of children, especially among parents, promotes positive and non-violent methods of upbringing, and introduces the public with the rights of the child in general.