Unsafe Havens? Violence against Children at Home and in Schools in the Baltic Sea region

A new study on corporal punishment and school bullying by Save the Children Sweden aims at exploring measures taken to prevent physical and humiliating punishment of children and bullying and to build the case for legal provisions, public education and adequate protection systems. It covers six countries; Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Sweden, and the St. Petersburg region of the Russian Federation.

The following issues were addressed:
• Available research on attitudes in the society and the prevalence of physical and humiliating punishment and bullying.
• Laws regulating the issues of corporal punishment and bullying.
• Implementation of relevant laws.
• Government institutions and measures taken by the government.
• Responsibilities of regional and/or local authorities and service providers.
• Examples of programmes and projects concerning domestic violence and bullying carried out by non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
• Debate in the media, at political level and among the public about the issues of domestic violence, corporal punishment and peer violence in the respective countries.

Results indicate that large parts of the adult population in the countries around the Baltic Sea still think that children do not deserve the same right to be protected from violence as adults. Physical and humiliating punishments are widely practiced and tolerated. Peer violence (bullying) is also common and is often discarded as "children's play" or something that children and young people have to sort out themselves.

These attitudes are an evident demonstration of the fact that the rights of the child are still not fully internalised, neither among decision-makers and professionals, nor among the general public. Therefore, in order to ensure the fulfillment of child rights, children need strong legal provisions as well as well-functioning and accessible protection systems that take into account the views and experiences of children. Moreover, although the links are not clear, it is obvious that both violence against children in the home and bullying are issues that are connected to overall development in the society. Experts, politicians, NGO representatives and others in the Baltic Sea countries highlight factors such as growing income disparities, tensions between different nationalities, poverty and increasing competition and commercialisation. This wider context needs to be included in analyses as well as actions against corporal punishment and bullying.

This publication may also be downloaded from www.bookshop.rb.se under the menu item Free Publications.


Unsafe Havens.pdf2.55 MB

Submitted by admin on Wed, 2008-05-14 10:23.