On 9-11-01, Northern Ireland issued a consultation document about how to change the country's corporal punishment law to make it more protective of children and move toward meeting the standards of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and other international instruments.
The government will consider the following options:
Definition and/or limitation of the defense of reasonable chastisement,
Removal of the defense of reasonable chastisement, and
Introduction of a statutory statement of parents and children's rights and responsibilities including a statement about discipline which could be included in a statutory definition of parental responsibility.
A full consultation paper is available at www.olrni.gov.uk/home.htm (Select "Consultations" on the front-page screen) Or by phone at 00 44 2890 542900
The consultation period closes on January 31, 2002. The government wishes to engage a wide-ranging consultation from the public, professionals and equality groups.