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Luis Almagro OAS Secretary General Néstor Méndez OAS Assistant Secretary General Zaira Navas IIN Directing Council President Elizabeth Lewis IIN Directing Council Vice President Víctor Giorgi IIN Director General Daniel Claverie Ingrid Quevedo IIN Communication Sara Cardoso IIN Desing




Editorial: Director General Victor Giorgi


Interview with Marta Santos - Special Representative of the Secre12 tary-General on Violence against Children Specialized Articles: “Child Rights in Disaster Risk Management” – Magda Pinilla


“Socio-economic causes for youth violence in Latin America and 23 the Caribbean” – Wendy Niffikeer & Andy Knight The IIN and the region 2015 IIN presence in the Region Thematic Lines in Action Plan 2015/2019

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Specialized Articles: “Information and Communications Technologies: Crimes aga41 inst Children” – Pilar Ramírez Unmasking sexual abuse of children in the Caribbean - Glenford 49 D. Howe - The University of the West Indies - Barbados “Childhood, disciplining and physical punishment in Uruguay: 55 historical references and current controversies”- Sandra Leopold Communication Channel lnstucional




Víctor A. Giorgi Director General

Anniversaries are times brimming with emotion and meaning. Through them, history becomes interconnected with the concerns, joys and wishes of the present, and brings us face to face with the desires, fears and yearnings with which we look towards the future. On its 89th anniversary, the Inter-American Children’s Institute (IIN) would like to share the publication of this relaunching of its institutional newsletter IINfancia (IIN-Childhood), in its second period, with all of those who work with and for children. In this way, the IIN proposes to explore certain aspects of its history and open an area for dialogue and sharing on the situations involving the rights of children and adolescents in the region. The IIN’s foundation process was initiated in 1919, during the Second Pan American Child Congress. Its foundation became a reality on 9 June 1927, at 6 p.m., at Montevideo’s Ateneo, and held its first meeting with the presence of delegates from ten countries. Newsletter Nº 1 was published in July 1927, with an editorial by Prof. Luis Morquio giving an account of the ceremony held for the institute’s foundation. The newsletter was published every quarter until 1975,


when the frequency began to vary between two and four issues per year, until 1990, when it began to be published annually. Publication ceased in 2001 and in its place a number of digital publications were issued, but not regularly, with no specific pattern as to content, length or structure. We are now returning to the name IINfancia (IIN-Childhood), which was used in its final period, from 1990 to 2000. This historic recovery of a publication which for seventy-four years was a means of dissemination of both scientific knowledge about childhood and the ethical and political positions on the rights of children in the hemisphere, is an intentional act. The aim is to reconnect the institution with the history which underpins our actions; a history which is part of our identity, but which – as our revered Eduardo Galeano has said – must not be a port of arrival, but a port of departure. This is not about venerating or being anchored in the past, but about taking up the example of our predecessors in order to engage in the profound processes of change required, at each historical moment, when working on behalf of child rights in a heterogeneous continent riddled with inequity, exclusion and violence. Beyond their singular historical, political, cultural and linguistic features, the Americas and the Caribbean constitute a young region, where 40% of the population is under 18 years old, with subregions such as Central America where this percentage exceeds 55%. Its wealth of cultural diversity coexists with great inequities as regards access to material and cultural assets. This leads to gaps in opportunities to enjoy rights among the different population groups within each State, as well as between States and subregions. The IIN was born within, for and because of the challenges posed by this regional scenario. The IIN’s history is a long one, with a wealth of experiences crosscutting different times of the hemisphere’s social and political life, as well as different concepts of childhood and of the policies geared towards it.


Throughout almost the whole of the 20th century, the States understood childhood policies as “actions for children in irregular situations”; charitable activities financed with surplus funds and disconnected from major national policies. In recent decades, there has been progress in recognizing the rights of children, in incorporating them into legal frameworks and in investment on the part of the States, which has made it possible to strengthen protection systems. Today, child rights are on social and political agendas throughout the region. However, despite these developments, there is still a long way to go along the never-ending road that leads from stipulated and recognized rights to rights that are universally enjoyed on a day-to-day basis. It is against this background that we return to some of the “core ideas” which inspired that early foundational feat which gave rise to our organization This new perspective brings us face-to-face with the fact that children are holders of rights which do not depend on the generosity of persons or of States, but are inherently due to human beings “by right of birth”. These rights constitute a unit; “the outcome of the enjoyment of them all leads to the right to life” stated Luis Morquio, endowing life with a meaning that goes beyond biological terms and approaches the concept of “good living”. The Americanist concept applied to children and adolescents promotes solidarity above and beyond national borders, which is nothing more than being clear about being able to do more and do it better together, because of everything that unites us. We conceive the Institute as an area to provide synchronization between scientific progress, an ethical positioning involving commitment to child rights and a political dimension by means of which transformations become a reality. We reaffirm our conviction that children are part of our societies and that their fate is inextricably linked, thus strengthening the building of citizenship and intergenerational coexistence.


Today we can state that these ideas retain their currency in full and have become incorporated into other more recent ones, such as the conviction that the child-rights based perspective and the gender approach are inseparable from the consolidation and strengthening of democracies, not only as a form of government but as a style of life which is respectful of the dignity of all, beyond any differences. In compliance with our regulations, last year, during the 91st Meeting of the Directing Council, held in Antigua Guatemala, the Action Plan for the period 2015-2019 was discussed and adopted. This Action Plan was based on the recommendations of the Twenty-First Pan American Child Congress and the Second Pan American Child Forum, and was enhanced by consultation with the States of the Inter-American system, civil society organizations, and children’s organizations, through which the priority issues in the region were identified, as well as the specific focus or priorities of the subregions. It was necessary to group these subjects into lines of action bearing not only requirements in mind, but also institutional capacity and resources for their development. The new Action Plan will function as an “institutional navigation chart” for the period 2015-2019, and in putting it into practice, the IIN must devote all of its theoretical, technical and ethical store of knowledge in order to cope with the demands of the new perspectives regarding childhood in the changing scenario of our region. In it, our institutional mission is defined as: “To contribute to the development of public policies that ensure the promotion, protection and enjoyment of the rights of children and adolescents in OAS Member States and to promote the building of a culture of rights for children and adolescents within a context of strengthened democracies.” This publication is positioned within this institutional framework. We have invited colleagues and technical experts of different nationalities to contribute to this issue of IINfancia, in an attempt to reflect diversity and a certain subregional balance. Their opinions do not necessarily coincide with those of the IIN, nor of their States. They constitute contributions to an extended debate which is enhanced by


diversity. The choice of subject matter was left to the authors, with some suggestions made on the basis of their background and the issues included in the Action Plan. IINfancia has been conceived as a periodical publication reflecting the output of different people and collectives of the region, who will contribute to the transformations needed in order to make child rights a reality. Its publication is an event which attempts to add to the building of a Culture of Rights in which the “best interests of the child” becomes a way of life and where children are viewed as full citizens without discrimination of any kind. This is the horizon towards which we work and towards which we invite you to walk. Víctor A. Giorgi Director-General


Marta Santos Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children

Twenty-five years after the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and ten years after specialist Paulo Sérgio Pinheiro’s World Report on Violence against Children, how do you assess the development of the capacity of the States in our region to ensure the protection of child rights against violence? What are the main advances? Since the adoption of the Convention and in light of the World Report on Violence against Children, a fundamentally positive change has taken place in the protection of child rights in the region, in terms of policies, regulatory frameworks and increased awareness of the need for a new way of relating to children and that it is imperative to protect them from all forms of violence. To cite one example, nearly all Latin American countries now have a children’s law or statute. Panama and Chile do not yet have such a law, but they have already begun parliamentary discussions in order to bolster their countries’ legislation in the field of childhood.

While there has been significant progress, the eradication of violence against children comes up against strong resistance in some sectors of our societies. Has parlia-


mentary discussion of laws that prohibit corporal punishment shed light on these positions and in some cases, hindered their adoption? To what do you attribute these positions on the part of some sectors of the “adult world� that defend the use of violence in the disciplining of the new generations? They reflect an adult-centred vision of the world which urgently needs to change. This is one of the greatest challenges posed by the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention recognizes children to be full-fledged holders of rights and this acknowledgement demands structural modifications from society in order to build relationships between adults and children based on respect for children and their capabilities from the very beginning of life. Such a transformation doubtless requires action from the States, in order to provide support and mechanisms to enable these changes to take place in adults; educating them so that they may provide careful support to children’s growth and development.

What is the international community focusing on at present in the field of child rights in the region? We live in an increasingly interconnected world and are part of global processes which concern the whole of humanity equally. I should like to highlight two aspects: the implementation of the new sustainable development agenda, which includes goal 16.2 on the elimination of all forms of violence, and the tenth anniversary of the World Report on Violence against Children. These processes are part of the global agenda, in the production of which the countries of the region played a prominent role, and at the same time, this agenda has a direct impact on the region and the region plays a significant part in these processes. An example of this is that this is the region which is moving most swiftly towards the full and explicit legal prohibition of all forms of violence; one of the key components in achieving goal 16.2 of the sustainable development agenda.

What is still pending in our region of the Americas and the Caribbean with regard to the enjoyment and protection of child rights? One of the pending challenges is protecting the most vulnerable children; I


refer specifically to children who come into contact with the judicial system. There are regressive tendencies in the region in relation to children, which are based on the stigmatization of children who are presumed or alleged to participate in the perpetration of unlawful acts. In over twenty-five years, the region has not managed to transfer the paradigms of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to the full protection of children at risk or in contact with justice. Today the region has a unique opportunity to contribute to the process of drafting the Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty, in view of the fact that every country must engage in a nationwide review or examination of the state of protection of children deprived of liberty. This review should make it possible to identify strengths and weaknesses which will need to be overcome in order to safeguard the rights of children in all circumstances..

What are the main obstacles that you could point to in advancing towards a “Culture of Rights” which will protect children and adolescents? A culture cannot be imposed; it should, rather, be the result of a process involving education, awareness-raising and the participation of all. The State is primarily responsible for generating appropriate capacity in all operators of the country’s rights protection system, and for supporting parents and other adult caregivers in positive parenting. In addition, it should promote the empowerment of children themselves and their legitimate participation in all matters that concern the protection of their rights.

How do you consider that the Inter-American Children’s Institute could contribute to the process of making the Americas a region free from violence against children? We need a strong Institute with sufficient human and financial resources to fulfil its laudable mandate of promoting the protection of all child rights. The Institute acts as an advisory body to OAS Member States and in that capacity it can directly influence the design and implementation of national measures taken in areas involving children, either by supporting the implementation of public policies and laws prohibiting violence, or by facilitating the sharing of experience among the countries, operating as a


synchronizing agent in the region in order to assist the States in the creation of a region free from violence against children. What recommendations would you make, and/or what short, mid and long term measures should the States focus on with a view to ensuring the protection of the rights of children? It is essential for the States to continue intensifying their efforts to set up appropriate and efficient national child protection systems, well-coordinated under the leadership of a senior authority with the capacity to promote synchronization and coordination with the various levels of State government – national, provincial, regional and local – and to build partnerships with civil society and with the children themselves. There is also a pressing need to ensure the legal prohibition of all forms of violence against children, including that which is perpetrated in the home and in the family, and to establish systems for gathering statistical data on the situation of children in order to report accurately on the implementation of public policies and legislation. These strategic measures are urgent and also constitute key elements so that every country can have the best opportunities to move forward in the elimination of violence against children by 2030, as established in the global sustainable development agenda. In order to contribute to this process I invite the States to promote a cultural transformation towards zero tolerance of violence against children and to join the initiative promoted by my office within the United Nations framework, entitled High Time to End Violence against Children. The aim of this initiative is to raise awareness in society so that by using our time and our talent we can make ZERO our favourite number; zero violence against children.

Information on the High Time initiative is available from:


Child Rights in Disaster Risk Management By Magda Pinilla

Nobody is exempt from being affected by emergencies, but it is children who are the most vulnerable, and, therefore, who may be the most seriously affected in these situations. According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, persons under the age of 18 have the right to receive priority assistance during emergencies caused by disasters of any kind. It is imperative in disaster risk reduction to involve all sectors and each and every person must assume the responsibility of watching over the integrity, well-being and rights of children during emergency situations.

What do child rights have to do with risk management? All children are born with rights to education, health and nutrition, decent housing, safe water, sanitation and hygiene, protection, etc. Even in normal times, they do not all have access to these rights. In emergencies and disasters, therefore, this vulnerability increases, and such things as the following take place: • They are not provided with adequate conditions of social and physical security (access to food, dwelling, shelter). • Classes are interrupted and schools are often taken over as shelters for a long time, so children cannot enjoy their right to access to education. • The psychological and social impact that children suffer is not addressed, which restricts their evolution. Children often lose their recreational areas.


She holds a Licentiate degree in Psychology with a postgraduate degree in Primary Health Care. She has acted as a Specialist in the Protection of Child Rights in Disaster Risk Management and in the production of public policy frameworks for States Party of the Inter-American system in the protection of child rights during disaster risk management, in the Organization of American States OAS/ IIN - Inter-American Children’s Institute. Since 2006, she has engaged in consultancies for UNICEF /TACRO, and UNICEF-Panama, PAHO/PED Panama and Regional, RET, IFRC, OCHA, ISDR, CEPREDENAC, Ministry of Education and Health of Panama. She is on the Regional Intervention Teams of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) for emergencies and disasters and on PAHO/WHO Mental Health Regional Intervention Teams for emergencies and disasters.

• Child labour increases, since children need to work many hours to help their families and cannot grow in other aspects. • They become the victims of violence in their own homes, owing to the tensions generated by the emergency and/or disaster. What can / should the authorities do? Emergencies cause displacement, the interruption of normal life and the separation of families and communities, giving rise to negative effects in the normal development of children and teenagers. Because of this, it is necessary for the community and State institutions to intervene with protection and assistance. In decision-making or during programme design, the opinions and recommendations that children might give are frequently ignored. In the context of risk and disasters – often under the pressure of urgency – decisions and analyses made by adults are intensified, and the fact is disregarded that children are a part of society and have an enormous potential to contribute


in emergencies, such as the role youth can play in these circumstances. Disaster risk management involves many social stakeholders and institutional policy, but it is paramount that it should take place in a context of synchronization and coordination within and between institutions. In such a framework, the best interest of children should be included in all strategies, at the different stages, pre and post impact, from the perspective of development, so that it can contribute to reducing children’s vulnerability, limiting possible damage, building capacity for response and speeding up recovery. The States and their institutions must ensure that such actions place children and the protection of their rights as one of their principal objectives. This is accomplished through the establishment of risk management policies, adopting strategies to reduce vulnerability and providing resources for preparedness, mitigation and prevention, as well as through action in response to the emergency itself.

How can children participate in Disaster Risk Management? Children may be particularly “vulnerable” owing to their relative “immaturity” and “dependence”, but it is also important to recognize their potential and capacity for resilience. Guidelines should be produced and resources provided in order to target the promotion and participation of children on the basis of: 1. Building local capacity to face emergencies and disasters. 2. Child participation through the production of risk maps and awareness-raising activities with content suited to their ages. In connection with existing hazards, they can become involved, either through their schools, or in action coordinated in the community (by local leaders, for example), in the detection, identification and communication of risks. 3. The dissemination of information and the promotion of a culture of rights, among others. 4. Resilience is a “protective factor” which helps people cope with adver-


sity in individual, family and community contexts. Resilience in children is intrinsically linked to that of their parents and other caregivers. 5. Support networks and their reinforcement are another way of enabling children and their families to cope with adverse circumstances. 6. Children can be protected from further injury by avoiding further separations, inappropriate responses to “trauma�, ill-treatment and the unnecessary isolation of those who are more “vulnerable�. 7. Children are active citizens who should be borne in mind as such, in keeping with the principle of progressive autonomy. Demands and expectations with regard to their place in the community and/or society should be consistent with their capacity according to their age and level of evolution. 8. The potential capacity of girls and boys to replicate and disseminate messages within their families and communities is a very valuable tool that has proven to be effective in risk management. Disaster reduction begins at school, at home, and in all areas where children are commonly to be found. It is necessary for preparedness in emergencies and disasters to include all levels of the community if we are to ensure that children and their families are prepared to protect their lives and personal property against natural disasters. If child participation is to be guaranteed, it is essential for adults to devote their work and efforts to promoting it. It should also be conceived in all areas in a coordinated and coherent way: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5)

In In In In In

the family schools/education centres the community government States

Promoting participatory opportunities and promoting child rights in disaster risk management make it possible for them to promote solutions to problems and become agents of change. Child participation must be considered in any design, implementation, follow-up or monitoring and evaluation actions. On the one hand, this is consistent with the rights-based approach, according to which children have


the right to give their opinions and be heard with regard to their real needs, and on the other, it makes activities relevant, ensuring that adequate accountability procedures are in place, viewed as a process of joint moral and civic responsibility. Disaster risk reduction focused on children and adolescents According to Save the Children, disaster risk reduction focusing on children places children at the centre of its activities, recognizing the specific vulnerabilities of children in disasters, focusing on their needs and rights, supporting and based on child participation in order to identify and address their needs and rights (Save the Children, 2011). Fulfilling their rights! The International Convention on the Rights of the Child is a treaty signed by 192 countries, which seeks to protect the rights of children so that their needs can be met and their opportunities for development expanded. Several of its principles and articles can be used to prevent and respond to disaster: • Non-discrimination, the best interest of the child and respect for their views. It is not enough for the community to provide certain basic services to children; it should be fully understood by the community and by the children themselves, that such provision is an act of justice • Article 27 indicates that children have the right to an adequate standard of living and, if necessary, that the State should assist them in gaining access to nutrition, clothing and housing; both in regular times and in emergencies. • Article 6 refers to the right to life. States are responsible for ensuring children’s survival and development; that is, they have the obligation to prevent or reduce risks that threaten children’s right to survival and development. • According to Article 12, States must ensure that children who are capable of forming their own views enjoy the right to express those views in all matters affecting them, bearing in mind their age and maturity.


Children, therefore, have the right to be aware of the risks of disasters and how to prevent them. This is reinforced in Articles 13 and 17, which indicate that children have the right to information. • Article 15 (the right to freedom of association and peaceful assembly) gives children the opportunity to organize themselves in order to take part in preventing and responding to emergencies. • Article 23 recognizes the right of disabled children to receive special care. Thus, children with physical and/or mental disabilities must receive greater protection, since they are more vulnerable to disasters. • Article 28 refers to the right to education and makes the States responsible for ensuring access. Children must attend school regularly even in the context of disasters. • Article 29 emphasizes the need to instil respect for the environment in children, which is linked to the capacity to reduce risk as a result of appropriate management practices. • Children’s right to rest and leisure (Article 31) has not been sufficiently prioritized during emergencies. This right is important in order to ensure the psychological rehabilitation of children affected by disasters. • Article 32 recognizes children’s right to be protected from economic exploitation, particularly during emergency situations. • Article 34 refers to the States undertaking to protect children from abuse and sexual exploitation, practices that are exacerbated during emergencies.


Bibliography IIN-OAS (2011). Policy Position Paper Child Rights in Disaster Risk Management. IIN-OAS. (2012). Management and strategic coordination to protect the rights of children affected by emergencies or disasters: Operating tools for officials. IIN-OAS. (2013). Policy Framework for the Promotion and Protection of Child Rights in Disasters and Emergencies. Save the Children (2007). Child Protection in Emergencies. Priorities, Principles and Practices. Sweden. UNICEF. (2008). Derechos de la niĂąez y la adolescencia en Emergencia o Desastre / Compromisos de Todos [Child rights in emergencies or disasters / A commitment for all]. Panama UNICEF-RET (2013) Actions for Children and Youth Resilience. Panama. Republic of Panama.


“Socio-economic causes for youth violence in Latin America and the Caribbean” By Wendy Niffikeer & Andy Knight

There are at present around 165 million young people aged 10-24 living in Latin America and the Caribbean, 27% of the total population. It is the highest number of young people ever in the region’s history. UN Population Forecasts are for the number to remain at this peak for just a few more years before declining, never to return again because of declining fertility. This so-called youth bulge can be a valuable resource (known as a demographic dividend) if har-


nessed properly. However, Latin American and Caribbean youth face a number of significant and persistent obstacles and instead there has been an explosion of violence over the past 20 years. No other region in the world demonstrates a wider variety of different types of violence – youth gangs (particularly in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras); school-based bullying (high in Brazil); domestic violence, racial violence (especially in Guyana); violence related to drug trafficking and money laundering; low intensity violence in inner cities; social uprisings (Brazil); terrorist activity –such as training to become fighters for ISIS (rising concern in Trinidad and Tobago). The causes are equally diverse and cover a wide spectrum of society – rapid urbanization, persistent poverty, inequality, inadequacy of social services, the disintegration of families, absentee fathers, declining influence of religion, corporal punishment in school, availability of weapons and transnational crime helped by internet social networks.


Professor W. Andy Knight is former Director of the Institute of International Relations (IIR) at The University of the West Indies, Trinidad and Professor and former Chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta in Canada. He serves as Advisory Board Member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on the Welfare of Children and the South-South Cooperation Centre (SSCS). He was a Governor of the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) from 2007 to 2012 and Principal Investigator for a major Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada grant to study Children affected by War. Professor Knight co-edited Global Governance journal from 2000 to 2005 and was Vice Chair of the Academic Council on the United Nations System (ACUNS). Knight has written and edited several books, book chapters and journal articles on various aspects of multilateralism, global governance and peace, and United Nations reform. His recent books include: Female Suicide Bombings: A Gendered Approach, with Tanya Narozhna (University of Toronto Press, 2016); Remapping the Americas: Trends in Region-Making, with Julian Castro-Rea & Hamid Ghany (Ashgate 2014); The Routledge Handbook of the Responsibility to Protect (with Frazer Egerton) – Routledge 2012; Towards the Dignity of Difference?: Neither ‘end of History’ Nor ‘clash of Civilizations’ (with Mojtaba Mahdavi) – Ashgate 2012; and Global Politics (with Tom Keating) – Oxford University Press 2010. Professor Knight is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Dr Butler is a Consultant Economist and writer based in London. Over the past 30 years, she has worked on both OECD and developing country issues including financial markets and on several areas of public policy. Her career has spanned the Bank of England, investment banking in the City of London and her own, Economic Research Company. Her publications include country analysis as well as reports on unemployment, national budgets, productivity and structural adjustment. The objective of Dr Butler’s research has always been to seek out high levels of economic efficiency for growth and sustainability balanced with equity for the broadest range of society. Since 2009, she has focussed increasingly on issues of social justice for youth and in particular on raising awareness of empowerment, health, education and employment issues. She has worked with a number of NGOs and is currently an Expert Assessor and Team Leader in Economics for Pearson. Dr Butler continues to work on the creation of varied pathways for youth to transition from school to the economic ladder so that they can lead fulfilling and creative lives as adults. Dr Butler has dual British and Trinidad and Tobago nationality. Continúa en pág. 28


UNDP notes that, “the causes of the youth crisis are largely exogenous to youth”. In this article, we focus on three of the main exogenous economic causes – poverty, unemployment and inequality followed by some country perspectives on Trinidad and Tobago and the CARICOM region. Policies to transform these factors together with an approach that targets the young have the potential to unlock the enormous economic value of the youthbased demographic dividend. Bloom and others (2014) estimated that as much as a third of the growth in the average annual per capita income of the East Asian “tiger” economies between 1965 and 1995 was attributable to the demographic dividend combined with favourable economic conditions. Poverty continues to be a significant impediment in Latin America and the Caribbean. Although the World Bank’s Poverty Headcount Ratio shows a sharp and steady decline from around 28% of the population in 1984 to 6% in 2012, youth are still disproportionately affected. According to UNFPA figures, 30 percent of Latin American and Caribbean youth aged 15-29 still live in poverty. Young people under 19 are most vulnerable to being drawn into violence because growing up in poverty makes it more difficult for youth to access basic social services or to benefit from preventative initiatives or protection mechanisms. Poverty has a cumulative impact on a young person’s development, increasing the risks to health, poor school performance which leads to long-term dependency and social exclusion. Social exclusion is a key driver of youth violence. Violence also works the other way, reinforcing poverty. A young person who is drawn into violence becomes ostracized from society which adds further to his poverty and social exclusion. Young people face much higher levels of unemployment across the world, with lower pay and less access to employment-based social security systems. Again, although major strides have been made over the last decade in reducing unemployment in Latin America and the Caribbean, from 16% in 2000 to 12.9% in 15-29 age group, this rate of youth unemployment is still 3 times higher than for the population of 30-64 years of age. Steady work enables youth to break the cycle of poverty and exclusion but provision of sufficient numbers of jobs which are adequately paid and with a basic level of security has been proving a serious challenge. It is estimated that as much as a third of workers aged 15-29 in Latin



America and the Caribbean work in the informal sector where they typically face lower remuneration and have little or no access to social safety nets. Experience suggests that this is not just an economic problem as even in prosperous times, labour markets have struggled to absorb large numbers of youth. More likely, it is a gap in public policy which is now taking on critical proportions because of the demographic pressure of the sheer numbers of youth. Frustrated expectations when education fails to deliver better job prospects gives rise to feelings of social injustice and it is this which has been linked specifically to social unrest in many countries, most notably in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe (ILO and IMF chart) where the difference between youth and adult unemployment has been the highest. Although declining, income inequality in the Latin America and Caribbean region remains the highest in the world. A steep distribution of income compounds the effects of poverty on youth as it nullifies the positive effect of economic growth. Inequality and violence in Latin America and the Caribbean are closely connected. There is widespread consensus in the literature that countries with a more unequal distribution of income tend to be more violent, (Fajnzylber, Lederman and Loayza 1998, 2000, 2002) particularly when combined with weak governance. Latin America and the Caribbean is the most violent region in the world with 24 homicides per 100,000 population compared with 5/100,000 in North America and 7/100,000 globally. Of the top ten most violent countries in the world in 2015, according to figures published by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime, eight were from Latin America – Honduras, Venezuela, United States Virgin Islands, Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Jamaica and St Kitts and Nevis. The Caribbean claims the highest rates of homicides among young people aged 15-17. Boys are six times more likely to be victims than girls. Violence is ranked as the leading cause of death among males aged 15-24 in the Caribbean. Meanwhile, around 30% of the region’s youth suffer from the consequences of at least one kind of risky behavior defined by the World Bank as, dropping out of school, becoming a young parent, being unemployed, substance abuse or being arrested. A study of young people in Latin America and the Caribbean (Cunningham et al, 2008 in Journal of Adolescence, 2010) reported that “household poverty is perhaps the strongest and most consistent correlate of risky behaviour for all the countries studied” in particular, when a young person has to quit school


early to join the labour force to sustain themselves and/or family. The situation of young people in Latin America and the Caribbean is characterised by an agglomeration of negative factors which together with a youth’s propensity for risky behaviours explains the steep rise in youth violence over the last two decades. “It is impoverishment and inequality in combination with feelings of injustice which lead to violent conflict. The highly complex and multifaceted problem of youth violence can thus be summed up as a violent reaction to an unequal and unjust society that offers few opportunities for disadvantaged youths to break out of the vicious circle of poverty and exclusion” (Imbusch, Misse and Carrión, 2011).


Caribbean perspectives: Interviews held with a number of scholars across Latin America and the Caribbean confirm not only the exogenous factors but also highlight that to a large degree, the nature of this violence is now primarily interpersonal, urban and concatenated (Auyero & Berti, 2015, 89). Imbusch, Misse and Carrion have also noted that political violence, which was prevalent across Latin America, has “receded significantly” while other forms of violence have multiplied (2011, 95) These varied forms of violence are located primarily in densely populated urban areas. Concatenated violence refers to the many different ways in which diverse types of physical aggression – normally viewed as “discrete and analytically distinct” – are in fact linked. It is useful to focus on a few cases to illustrate the multidimensional nature of youth violence in Latin America and the Caribbean and the interlinkages that occur between the causes of such violence. Elizabeth Solomon, current Senior Conflict Prevention and Peacebuilding Specialist and Fellow at the Institute of International Relations (IIR), the University of the West Indies, identifies highly stratified and concatenated violence within poor, marginalized, neighbourhoods in the urban communities around Port of Spain, in Trinidad and Tobago. She notes that over the past five years there has been a noticeable increase in the amount and variety of youth violence. In large part, she attributes this to the increase in gang activity imitating gang violence prominent in places like Chicago and Los Angeles in the United States. At the apex of this concatenated violence is homicides. According to Solomon, already in the last three months there has been over 100 murders in Trinidad and Tobago. More than 80% of those murdered are young men between the ages of 26 and 35 years. The Trinidad and Tobago Police Force have identified two rival gang-related factions calling themselves “the Muslims” and “the Rastas” who engage in various criminal activities – from petty to violent crimes. Youth in socially excluded communities can seldom depend on the institutions designed to protect them. As a result, they turn to vigilante justice and violence becomes an instrument to achieve fairness, security, and economic gain. Clearly, youth who are socially excluded find themselves operating “in a very hostile social environment where the borders between legal and illegal, legitimate and illegitimate are often fuzzy and uncertain.” Erika Johnson has noted that gangs in Trinidad and Tobago are more like “societal institutions that go beyond social purposes, and are coming to resemble governments in and of themselves.” (Johnson, 2013)


Whether in or outside of gangs, many of the socially excluded youth tend to exhibit a great deal of anger and victimhood. According to former Trinidad and Tobago Senator, Anthony Vieira, young boys are particularly prone to establishing who is the “best” or “baddest” in schools. In some cases, they are responding to bullying tactics of other children. But certainly some of the youth violence witnessed in Trinidad and Tobago stem from rivalries within schools and between schools. While, historically, boys were more likely to engage in establishing male dominance in the school yard, recently we have been witnessing an exponential increase in the number of girls who display similar aggressive behaviour. With the proliferation of cell phones, most of these fights are broadcast via social media, which only seems to encourage other young people to engage in this type of activity. As mentioned before, there is not a singular cause for the spike in youth violence in Latin America and the Caribbean. Much of the anger stems from a confluence of factors and forces. The breakdown in families and the absence of strong male role models is identified by Vieira as opening the possibility for wrong influences to take root in the lives of children from broken homes, especially boys. Opportunists can lead youth astray, recruit them into organized criminal gangs and even, encourage them to embrace ideologies of hate. Radical Muslim recruiters have managed to lure a number of youth from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela to join ISIS and become foreign fighters in Iraq and Syria. The Minister of National Security of Trinidad and Tobago estimates that the number of citizens who have gone to fight for ISIS is somewhere between 89 and 126. Most of these foreign fighters are linked to Muslim groups in Trinidad and Tobago and some specifically linked to the Jamaat al Muslimeem – a radicalized Muslim group that orchestrated an unsuccessful coup in Trinidad in 1990. There is currently no evidence that youth violence in Trinidad and Tobago is politically or ideologically motivated by ISIS or al Qaeda. But there is a reasonable likelihood that national targets could become attractive to a larger jihadi cause, particularly in Trinidad, where there is a concentration of foreign investment in the energy sector. Concatenated violence is of particular concern also across the CARICOM sub-region because the risk factors associated with these vulnerable small island developing states (SIDS) compounds the difficulty of the governance of youth violence. As reported in the Small Island Developing States Programme of Action (SIDSPOA), adopted in 1994 by the UN Global Conference on the Sustainable


Development of Small Island Developing States (UNGCSIDS), Caribbean states are more vulnerable than many other developing countries in the world. Apart from limited land and resources, most of these states are vulnerable to recurring environmental disasters. Caribbean states are subjected almost annually to severe hurricanes which cause major infrastructural damage which sets back the economies of these small states. For instance, hurricane Luis in 1995 caused an estimated EC$810 million worth of damage to Antigua and Barbuda. This resulted in the loss of 71% of the country’s GDP and literally closed downits tourist industry that year. The Prime Minister of Dominica estimated that the infrastructural damage from Tropical Storm Erika in 2015 set back economic development by twenty years. This vulnerability of CARICOM States makes addressing the issue of youth violence even more urgent. In light of the above challenges, a pilot project called the CARICOM-Spain Citizens Security Project, funded by the Caribbean Development Bank, targets five CARICOM countries (Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago), to assess risk factors for youth engaged in violence, particularly in schools. That project has surveyed 520 students to date in target schools, and administered focus group discussions to try to get a handle on bullying, classroom theft and other crimes taking place within the educational system. CARICOM's Social Development and Crimes Prevention Action Plan is geared to reducing the level of youth violence through public education, animated public service announcements, sensitization campaigns, and utilizing the media as a partner in preventing violence among youth. Such policy prescriptions are supplemented by regional and transnational civil society efforts. For instance, recognizing the contribution of small arms proliferation to the youth violence problem in the Caribbean, Project Ploughshares teamed up with Caribbean civil society to study the impact of small arms diffusion and gun violence in Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago. That study came to the conclusion that the violence associated with small arms proliferation is not only linked with young men (both as victims and perpetrators) but also threatens the human welfare of countries in the region, impedes their social development, impacts negatively on their public health care systems and creates further social and economic problems for the entire region. Governments in Latin America and the Caribbean ought to pay serious attention to this rise in youth violence. It is clear that many of these governments


face tremendous challenges in their attempts to reduce the level of violence in their societies. Several of these governments have weak institutions that are at times infiltrated by criminal elements. To reduce or eliminate violence, government institutions (Police Force, Judiciary, Legislature, Prisons) will have to be strengthened. But so too should the broader macroeconomic environment and organizations within civil society in Latin America and the Caribbean be strengthened to help address the issues that facilitate and spur youth violence.

Bibliography AUYERO, JAVIER & M. F. BERTI (2015) “In Harm’s Way: The Dynamics of Urban Violence” (NJ: Princeton University ). HEATHER BECKMAN (2007) “Social Exclusion and Violence in Latin America and the Caribbean”. Inter-American Devlopment Bank D.E BLOOM et al (2014) “Capturing the Demographic Dividend: Source, Magnitude and Realization” in One Billion People, One Billion opportunities: Building Human Capital in Africa. African Development Bank Washington D.C CARICOM (2015) CARICOM Forum on Youth Crime and Violence: Youth crime and violence-- breaking the cycle: Exploring new platforms for transformation (September) at, accessed on 4 May 2016. CARICOM (2010) “Eye on the future: Investing in Youth Now for Tomorrow’s Commu-


T he IIN and the Region

Violence and C This thematic line during the stage of tribute to cultural ch eradicate all kinds of ments.

Early Childhood Work will be done strengthen insti sectoral str for childc the situ depri

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Child Rights e will address violence, especially f Early Childhood, seeking to conhanges and to legislate against and violence from all everyday environ-

e in this thematic line in order to itutional capacity, coordinate crossrategies, enhance parenting skills care and upbringing and improve uation of children who have been ived of parental care.

exual Violence and Sexual Exploitation t is intended in this line to provide ontinuity for the Inter-American Programme for the Prevention and radication of Sexual Exploitation, d Smuggling of and Trafficking in dren. It will be essential to continue derpin a gender perspective which d to new forms of relationships with

nile Justice System 1, the IIN has been carrying out acn this area, targeted at protecting promoting the human rights of adoscents who come into contact with he juvenile justice system, in the conviction that the ultimate purpose of this system, rather than being a system for repression, should

T hematic Lines Action Plan 2015/2019 beone that establishes measures in keeping with the best interest of the adolescents involved and ensures that the harm caused is repaired. Child Participation El IIN continuará profundizando la transversalización The IIN will continue to encourage the mainstreaming of the right to participation in all of its areas and lines of action, seeking to contribute to the process of social transformation “towards a culture of rights”, where giving opinions, listening, deciding and influencing become joint responsibilities and in accordance with a vision of children as holders of rights. International Child Abduction Bearing the international legal framework in mind, the IIN proposes the objective of contributing to improving the effectiveness of procedures applied by member States, in order to ensure the swift and safe return to their countries of habitual residence of children who were abducted or wrongfully retained. Migrant Children On the basis of prior experiences existing in the States in the region, it is the IIN’s intention to support and provide technical assistance to the States in the promotion and protection of the rights of unaccompanied migrant children. Child Rights in Disaster Risk Management The IIN will circulate the Policy Framework and three especially produced guides, which reflect current, useful and specific guidelines for the production of public policies aimed at the comprehensive care of children in disaster risk management and which address emergencies with a rights-based approach.


nity” (Georgetown, Guyana). CHINEA, EYANIR (2015) “Victims and Killers: Venezuela youth at sharp end of crime,” Reuters (2 December). W. CUNNINGHAM, L. McGINNIS and R. GARCÍA VERDU (2008) “Youth at Risk in Latin America and the Caribbean: Understanding the Causes, Realizing the Potential.” Washington D.C.: World Bank. D. EMMANUEL (2014) “Towards understanding the biology of crime in Trinidad and Tobago,” West Indian Medical Journal, vol. 63, no. 6 (October), pp.655-657. K. EPPS (2008) “Addressing small arms violence in the Caribbean,” The Ploughshares Monitor (Summer), at accessed on 4 May 2016. P. FAJNZYLBER, Pablo, D. LEDERMAN, and N. LOAYZA. (1998) “Determinants of Crime Rates in Latin America and the World: An Empirical Assessment.” Washington D.C.: World Bank. P. FAJNZYLBER, Pablo, D. LEDERMAN, and N. LOAYZA

(2000). “Crime and

Victimization:An Economic Perspective.” Economía 1 (1): 219–78. P. FAJNZYLBER, Pablo, D. LEDERMAN, and N. LOAYZA (2002a). Inequality and Violent Crime. Journal of Law and Economics 45 (1): 1–40. P. FAJNZYLBER, Pablo, D. LEDERMAN, and N. LOAYZA (2002b). What Causes Violent Crime? European Economic Review 46 (7): 1323–57. MARK FIGUEROA (2010) “Coming to terms with boys at risk in Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean,” Commonwealth Education Partnerships, at, accessed on 4 May 2016. IMBUSCH., MISSE and CARRIÓN (2011) Violence Research In Latin America and the Caribbean: A Literature Review in International Journal of Conflict and Violence vol 5, (1) E. Y. JIMINEZ and M. MURTHI (2006) “Investing in the Youth Bulge” in IMF Finance and Development Sep 2006, Vol 43, no. 3. ERIKA JOHNSON (2013) “Gangs are the new law in urban Trinidad and Tobago,” Council on Hemispheric Relations (11 October 2013)., assessed on 21 May 2016. JEROME De LISLE (2011) “In search of evidence-based policy and best practice: Addressing gender differences in schooling within the English-speaking Caribbean”, University of the West Indies ORLANDO MARIA BEATRIZ, LUNDWALL JONNA (2010) “Boys at Risk, A gender issue in the Caribbean Requiring a Multi-faceted and Cross-Sectoral Approach,” (World Bank).


MARTINE POWERS (2015) “Caribbean nationals join forces with ISIS,” Miami Herald (October 15)., assessed on 21 May 2016. PAULO M. SAAD (2009), “Demographic Trends in Latin America and the Caribbean” in Workshop on Demographic Change and Social Policy organised by the World Bank, Washington D.C. July 14-15. TOWNSEND, DORN (2009) “No Other Life: Gangs, Guns, and Governance in Trinidad and Tobago” Working Paper No. 8. Geneva: Small Arms Survey. UNITED NATIONS (2015) “World Population Prospects” UNITED NATIONS YOUTH (2011) “Regional Overview: Latin America and the Caribbean” UNITED NATIONS Report on the World Social Situation (2013), “Inequality Matters” UNITED NATIONS POPULATION FUND AND ECONOMIC COMMISSION FOR LATIN AMERICA AND THE CARIBBEAN (2011) Regional Population report in Latin America and the Caribbean 2011:Investing in Youth. UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (2006) “Youth and Violent Conflict: Society and Development in Crisis?” (NY: UNDP Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery). UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE, BUREAU OF DIPLOMATIC SECURITY ( 2015) Trinidad and Tobago 2015 Crime and Security Report (Washington, DC). RL WAGMILLER and RM ADELMAN (2009) “Childhood and Intergenerational Poverty, The Long-Term Consequences of Growing-Up Poor” (Columbia University). WORLD BANK (2010) “Boys at Risk: A Gender Issue in the Caribbean Requiring a MultiFaceted and Cross-Sectoral Approach” (Washington, DC). WORLD BANK (2008) “Youth at Risk in Latin America and the Caribbean. Understanding the Causes, Realizing the Potential” (Washington, DC). WORLD BANK (2016) Poverty Data ( LAC)


Information and Communications Technologies: Crimes against Children. By M.A. María Pilar Ramírez Argueta

Information and communication technology – ICT – constitutes the set of technologies developed to manage information and send it from one place to another8. Among ICTs existing at present is the Internet, a tool which enables the interconnection of technologies; smartphones, computers, tablets and all of those devices that make the exchange of information possible. Access to the Internet in households throughout the world is gradually increasing over the years and users who access the network are getting younger and younger9. The appropriate use of technology fosters the development of human beings; conversely, using it incorrectly enables sexual predators to use the tool as a means of recruiting children and making them victims of child sexual abuse or exploitation. • Computer-Related Crime and its Connections with Children Computer-related crime, or cybercrime, comprises conduct carried out by means of information and communication technologies. It is difficult, though not impossible to investigate and prove that it has been committed, since in most cases, evidence gathering is complicated. It includes actions which can be carried out quickly and easily. On occasion, these crimes can be committed in a matter of seconds, using only a computer and without being physically present at the scene of the crime. Cybercrime tends to proliferate and evolve, which complicates its identification and prosecution even further. The principal social networks used by young people in Latin America are Face-


Definición de TIC, (Visto por última vez el

Indicadores Mundiales- Acceso Comunitario a las TIC. Unión Internacional de Telecomunicaciones. http://www.itu. int/itunews/manager/display.asp?lang=es&year=2005&issue=01&ipage=indicators. (Visto por última vez el 01 de mayo de 2016). 9


Holds a degree in Law and Social Sciences, is a lawyer and notary, Master in Social Security and completed studies at the PhD in Law (University of San Carlos of Guatemala) and graduates on adoptions, comprehensive protection of children and adolescents, international parental abduction, early childhood, foster care, among others. It is currently the Legal Adviser and Programme Coordinator for Latin America and the Caribbean of the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC) and member of the Latin American Advisory Council of the Latin American Foster Care Network (RELAF).He has worked in various academic institutions, Survivors Foundation, National Adoption Council of Guatemala, as technical assistant for the implementation of the Cooperation Agreement between UNICEF and Attorney General’s Office of Guatemala. Maria Pilar Ramirez | | GUATEMALA

book, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Snapchat, WhatsApp and Google+10, and the main ways that young people use the Internet are for information searches and communication by means of chat platforms. • Principal Crimes against Children: Definitions Child Sexual Abuse: In its General Comment Nº 1311, the Committee on the Rights of the Child holds that: “Sexual abuse comprises any sexual activities imposed by an adult on a child, against which the child is entitled to protection by criminal law. Sexual activities are also considered as abuse when committed against a child by another child, if the child offender is significantly older than the child victim or uses power, threat or other means of pressure. Sexual activities between children are not considered as sexual abuse if the children are older than the age limit defined by the State party for consensual sexual activities.” “(…) exploitation includes: (a) The inducement or coercion of a child to engage in any unlawful or psychologically harmful sexual activity; (b) The use of children in commercial sexual exploitation; and (c) The use of children 10

Las 5 Redes Sociales más usadas en Latinoamérica. (Visto por última vez el 01 de mayo de 2016). 11 Recomendación No. 13 del Comité de los Derechos del Niño. Página 11. Disponible en: english/.../CRC.C.GC.13_sp.doc. (Visto por última vez el 05 de abril de 2016, en los archivos del Centro Internacional para Niños Desaparecidos y Explotados ICMEC).


in audio or visual images of child sexual abuse; (d) Child prostitution, sexual slavery, sexual exploitation in travel and tourism, trafficking (within and between countries) and sale of children for sexual purposes and forced marriage.” It also determines that: “Many children experience sexual victimization which is not accompanied by physical force or restraint but which is nonetheless psychologically intrusive, exploitive and traumatic.”12 Child Sexual Exploitation: The crime of child sexual exploitation is committed when children or adolescents are made to take part in a sexual activity in exchange for any type of compensation, whether material or financial, which is received by a third person, by the perpetrator or by the child or adolescent himself or herself. The gain received for the sexual activity performed is the fundamental feature of child sexual exploitation. Child Sexual Exploitation Online: This type of conduct displays the same features as those described in the definition above, with the particularity that the sexual activity is carried out through the use of any of the information and communication technologies. Child Sexual Abuse Content (Child Pornography)13: In its Article 2, the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography provides a definition of child sexual abuse content (child pornography) which says: “(...) any representation, by whatever means, of a child engaged in real or simulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts of a child for primarily sexual purposes.” Likewise, Article 3 determines that: “Each State Party shall ensure that, as a minimum, the following acts and activities are fully covered under its criminal or penal law, whether such offences are committed domestically or transnationally or on an individual or organized basis: (...) (c) Producing, distri12

Ibídem. Pág. 11


Delitos Relacionados Directamente con el Material Contenido de Abuso Sexual Infantil. Producción: La acción de cualquier persona de fabricar, criar o exhibir, habiendo facilitado recursos materiales, económicos o ambos para la realización del material con contenido de abuso sexual infantil para sí o para otra persona. Distribución: La acción de entregar, vender, tratar o comercializar el material con contenido de abuso sexual infantil a cualquier persona que puede ser un intermediario, otro distribuidor o un consumidor. Divulgación: La acción de publicar, extender o poner al alcance del público el material con contenido de abuso sexual infantil. Importación: La acción de introducir en uno o varios países materiales con contenido de abuso sexual infantil que es procedente de otro. Exportación: La acción de vender en otro y otros países el material con contenido de abuso sexual infantil. Ofrecimiento: La acción de exponer al público para quien quiera adquirir a cambio de algo el material con contenido de abuso sexual infantil. Venta: La acción de trasladar a alguien por un precio convenido la propiedad del material con contenido de abuso sexual infantil. Posesión: La acción de poseer o tener física o virtualmente con ánimo de uso o de conservación para sí o para otros materiales con contenido de abuso sexual infantil. Almacenamiento: La acción de reunir, guardar o registrar en cantidad material con contenido de abuso sexual infantil.


buting, disseminating, importing, exporting, offering, selling or possessing for the above purposes child pornography as defined in article 2.”14 The continued use of the term “child pornography” tends to minimize the seriousness of the different forms of this crime, and contributes to distorting people’s perceptions by implying that a person who engages in “child pornography” is “only looking at” pictures, with nothing further involved. However, the act of viewing these images leads, at the same time, to the existence of a demand for them and, therefore, to their being produced. Because of this, international organizations have stopped referring to this kind of material as “child pornography” and begun to use the expression “child sexual abuse content”, despite the fact that the first term is still being used in the legal frameworks of many countries. Definitions should include at least all real or simulated depictions, by any medium, of children or adolescents engaging in explicit sexual activities, or of their sexual parts, with a primarily sexual purpose. In addition, there may be words or phrases in the definition of “child pornography” that also require an explanation. For example, such terms as “all real or simulated depictions”, “children or adolescents engaging in explicit sexual activities”, “sexual parts”, and “by any medium” might all benefit from a definition.

Seducing Minors through Technology (Grooming): The Council of Europe’s Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse holds that Parties to the Convention should criminalize: “the intentional proposal, through information and communication technologies, of an adult to meet a child who has not reached the age set in application of Article 18, paragraph 215 for the purpose of committing any of the offences established in accordance with Article 18, paragraph 1.a 16 or Article 20, paragraph 14

Ibídem, Artículo 3 y 3(c).

15 Artículo 18, apartado 2. “A efectos de la aplicación del apartado 1, cada Parte determinará la edad por debajo de la cual no está permitido realizar actividades sexuales con un niño”. 16

Artículo18. 1. Cada Parte adoptará las medidas legislativas o de otro tipo que sean necesarias para tipificar como delito las siguientes conductas intencionales: a) Realizar actividades sexuales con un niño que, de conformidad con las disposiciones aplicables del derecho nacional, no haya alcanzado la edad legal para realizar dichas actividades; b) realizar actividades sexuales con un niño: Recurriendo a la coacción, la fuerza o la amenaza; o abusando de una posición reconocida de confianza, autoridad o influencia sobre el niño, incluso en el seno de la familia; o abusando de una situación de especial vulnerabilidad del niño, en particular debido a una discapacidad psíquica o mental o una situación de dependencia.


1.a17, against him or her, where this proposal has been followed by material acts leading to such a meeting.”18 Definitions should at least include the set of strategies people make use of in order to seduce or gain the trust of children through any means of communication, with the purpose of establishing communications with sexual or erotic content of any form, as well as for sending pictures, videos, text or audio files with child sexual abuse or pornographic content, or for the purpose of setting up face-to-face meetings. In addition, there may be words or phrases in the definition of “grooming” that also require an explanation. For example, terms such as “the set of strategies people make use of”, “to seduce or gain the trust of children”, “through any means of communication”, and “sexual or erotic content” might all benefit from a definition. The Simulation of Child Pornography: All acts intending to represent and imitate aspects of reality, making it seem or appear that underage persons are engaging in sexual activities by means of the use or modification of images, cartoons, drawings or depictions of any kind. Impersonation for the Purpose of Child Abuse by means of Technology: This involves impersonating somebody else with the purpose of deceiving an underage person by any means, in order to establish communications with sexual or erotic content, whether or not they include images, videos, text or audio files, with a person who is under age or of diminished capacity. Revenge Pornography: The act of publishing sexually explicit pictures of another person on the Internet in order to satisfy a grievance or gain satisfaction for an injury allegedly caused to the person who publishes. Exchanging Sexually Explicit Messages (Sexting): This involves sending sexually explicit content produced by and generally with the participation of the sender himself or herself to other people, by means of information and communication technologies.

17 Artículo 20. 1. Cada Parte adoptará las medidas legislativas o de otro tipo que sean necesarias para tipificar como delito las siguientes conductas intencionales, cuando se cometan de forma ilícita: a) La producción de pornografía infantil. 18 Convenio del Consejo Europeo para la protección de los niños contra la explotación y el abuso sexual, hecho en Lanzarote el 25 de octubre de 2007. Disponible en: (Visto por última vez el 10 de abril de noviembre de 2016, en los archivos del Centro Internacional para Niños Desaparecidos y Explotados)


In this definition we refer to the exchange of communications with explicit sexual or genitalia-related depictions from one person to another. In most cases, these communications are self-produced by the person sending them, for various reasons or circumstances, without bearing in mind that these pictures may be used subsequently to their detriment. It should be noted that this conduct usually occurs among teenagers who are similarly placed and where a relative consent exists in the sending of the images. Agents in these circumstances should not be confused with criminals, since they themselves are the victims of the consequences of social practices. In such cases, education and preventive information on the consequences of such actions, such as the dissemination of their images, should be the principal solution. However, unwanted sexting also exists, such as images that are uploaded to a device without any prior interaction with the issuer of the images. This could be one of the ways of recruiting possible victims. Sexual Extortion (Sextortion): This entails intimidation, humiliation or the obtaining of any form of retribution or compensation in exchange for not distributing or sharing images, videos or depictions of any kind with a sexual content, to the detriment of the person who actually appears in them, or has been made to seem to appear in them.

Safety Tips for Parents, Children and Adolescents It is important to establish that all of us Internet users are digital citizens, for which reason we should bear in mind a number of safety tips aimed at children, parents, teachers and people in general, with the purpose of preventing the commission of some of the crimes mentioned under the previous heading.

Using technologies safely: • Begin discussing online protection with children as early as possible. • Explain the importance of not sharing their email account and social network passwords with anyone who might ask for them. • Children under the age of 13 should not have social network profiles, and if they do, they should be fully supervised by their parents.


Publishing information online • Explain to children the importance of not publishing personal information about themselves or their families, such as their home address, telephone number, etc. • Teach them to use their discretion and common sense before publishing any information at all. • Explain that the Internet is a public domain, that there is no control over anything that is shared and that once they publish something, they lose control over how it may be used, and that it may fall into the hands of people who misuse personal pictures and information that they have shared. How to behave on the network: • Explain to children the risk of setting up secret meetings and their possible consequences. • Explain to them the importance of never taking pictures of themselves naked, or of their private parts, and particularly when someone asks them to do so and to send these pictures over a chat session. • Train children in how to avoid digital harassment. Surfing safely: • Install parental controls on your children’s computers, particularly if they are under the age of 12. • Parents or caregivers should look for ways to become familiar with the equipment and technologies that they want their children to use or that their children are using. • Explain to children the dangers of buying software over the Internet without discussing it first with their parents. Meeting people online: • Ask children to tell their parents or a trusted adult if someone insists on establishing connections with them in chat sessions or social networks and they are uncomfortable about it, or if one of their contacts insists on asking personal questions, asks for pictures or wants to set up a meeting without anyone knowing about it. • Explain the risks and consequences of looking for friends on the net-


work and of accepting friend requests from strangers online. โ€ข Teach children at an early age that it is not always possible to be sure that the people they are chatting with and exchanging information with online are who they claim to be, and that they could be somebody completely different.

List of References 1.

1. A definition of ICTs, Global Indicators - Community Access to ICT International Telecommunications Union. http:// rs&ext=html.


2. The five social networks used most frequently in Latin America (in Spanish). http://


3. General Comment Nยบ 13 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child. Page 10. Available from:


4. Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. Article 2. Available from: EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/OPSCCRC.aspx


5. Council of Europe Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, Lanzarote, 25.X.2007. Available from:


Unmasking sexual abuse of children in the Caribbean By Glenford D. Howe

There has long been widespread awareness among Caribbean nations that sexual abuse of children is a major issue for the region1. Yet until relatively recently most countries had not adopted properly conceptualised or meaningful programmes to tackle the problem. The subject remained shrouded in secrecy despite the fact that Caribbean countries were among the first globally to ratify the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and have also signed various other child-related conventions. However, as a consequence of the combined efforts of international development partners, governments, non-governmental organisations and community based entities, there is now a growing awareness among the public about issues relating to child sexual abuse. The global prioritizing of violence against children, and especially of child sexual abuse, has contributed significantly to helping shape public and official awareness and action against child sexual abuse. Caribbean governments have been motivated to do more to prevent sexual violence against children. This renewed commitment and focus on preventing child sexual abuse, and other forms of violence against children, was reflected in the a Declaration on Child Sexual Abuse, by the Twenty Third Meeting of the CARICOM Council for Human and Social Development (COHSOD) on children and youth, which was convened under the theme: “Charting our future: An integrated development agenda for children and youth�, held in Guyana on 10-11 July 2012. This declaration condemned all forms of sexual abuse of children and asserted that there could be no justification for such practice. At that meeting CARICOM also endorsed the convening of a Regional Task Force to develop a strategic plan 1 Child sexual abuse may or may not involve actual physical contact and includes penetrative acts (e.g. rape or buggery) and also non-penetrative and non-contact activities, such as involving children in watching sexual activities, encouraging children to behave in sexually explicit ways and exposing them to inappropriate sexual material. Child sexual abuse also includes involving children in prostitution and pornography. (Perrault 2011)


Dr Howe has researched and published extensively in various disciplines including, child protection, children’s rights, history, politics, governance, education and health, and has produced many papers, books, technical reports and undertaken consultancies for such agencies as the UNESCO- (IBE) International Bureau of Education in Geneva, the UNESCO- (IESALC) the International Institute for Higher Education in Latin America and the Caribbean (IESALC) in Venezuela, the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Caribbean Development Bank, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), CARICOM, and the Governments of Barbados, Belize, and Anguilla. He was the General Rapporteur and report writer for a regional Ministerial conference on child sexual abuse in November 2012 in Barbados. He also recently completed a child sexual abuse/ protection protocol for the Government of Anguilla, and spearheaded through a pioneering report the reform and modernisation of the Barbados Child Care Board, the island’s chief child protection agency.

to address sexual violence against children, and agreed to review the entire system of investigation and prosecution of child sexual abuse cases to ensure compliance with the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This policy initiative came against the background of what was perceived by the various stakeholders to be a serious problem of underreporting of the problem in the Caribbean, and the need to gain better insights into the phenomenon. The few major studies conducted in the Caribbean prior to the declaration, had all point to child sexual abuse as a significant but not well understood problem. One study noted for example that around 20% to 45% of people in Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean had experienced behaviour that could be described as child sexual abuse. (Jones et al. 2009). The various studies also pointed to several factors which tended to affect reporting of the abuse and thereby create difficulties for estimating the scale of the problem in the region. Factors which help to explain low reporting of sexual abuse include the concern that anonymity and confidentiality will not be assured, parental and societal disbelief of what children may report, a pervasive culture of silence, and the fact that the perpetrator may be in a position of power or may know someone who can influence the outcome of any investigation. Persistent disparities in the official reported cases of child sexual abuse statistics and the official statistics of


teenage pregnancies also suggest that there is serious underreporting of child sexual abuse across the region. The main forms of child sexual abuse in the Caribbean include intra-familial sexual abuse, non-family sexual abuse, and transactional sexual abuse. Both intra-familial and non-family sexual abuse are characterized by a higher level of secrecy and silence while transactional sexual abuse can be described as being more visible and as an “open secret�. Children from economically disadvantaged families are often at higher risk for transactional abuse, but there are a number of interlocking socio-economic and other factors which fuel child sexual abuse. There are also many factors including cultural notions of masculinity, prevalence of drug use, poverty and vulnerability which together explain the high incidence of child sexual abuse in the region but one of the driving forces is the high level of violence and corresponding fear which affects the daily lives of the region’s children. The Caribbean ranks at the first place when it comes to murder rates in the world and also ranks high when it comes to rape. Some countries have rape rates which are twice as high as the world average for reported incidents of rape. (UNODC 2007) Very often children and adolescents are at risk of gender-based violence from those who they know and should be able to trust: parents, boyfriends or girlfriends, schoolmates, teachers and employers. While boys face a greater risk of physical violence than girls, in general girls face a greater risk of sexual violence, neglect and forced prostitution. The widespread acceptance of sexual violence as a normal feature of life, particularly by children, is also a grave cause for concern because of the link between child sexual abuse and the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. As early as 2003 one study revealed with respect to the Caribbean that while almost two-thirds of adolescents had not experience sexual intercourse about half of those who had become sexually active reported that their first sexual intercourse was forced. Furthermore, over half of sexually active boys and about a quarter of females stated that the age of first intercourse was 10 years old or younger; and almost two-thirds had intercourse before the age of 13. (Halcon 2003) It is worth noting that the age of sexual consent for both boys and girls in most Caribbean countries is 16 years. While the minimum legal age for marriage for both girls and boys varies across the region approximately 29% of girls in the Caribbean are married before their 18th birthday. (UNFPA) The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has


warned that this global phenomenon is a human rights violation that needs to be urgently addressed by leaders (UNFPA 2013). In fact, as the reports shows, the Caribbean region ranks among the highest with respect to the number of adolescent girls being pregnant under 18 years old annually. Thus, whether looked at from a human rights or public health perspective it is obvious that child sexual abuse and other forms of violence against children constitute a significant challenge for the Caribbean. The situation is also reflective of the fact that adolescent pregnancy is a problem inherently rooted in a lack of choice and circumstances beyond the girl’s control, including poor access to education, employment, health care and reliable information. A fundamental challenge in addressing the problem of the sexual abuse of children emanates from the fact that across the region varying definitions of child abuse are used in official policies and in the national legislations, as well as in how various national child protection agencies use the term. Despite these conceptual and definitional issues one comprehensive study of several Caribbean countries concluded that most people had a clear understanding about the types of behaviours that constitute sexual abuse. There are however, other controversial issues relating to the matter of transactional sexual abuse involving “consenting� teenage girls and older men, and the differing perceptions among various ethnic groups, classes and age-groups over what really constitutes child sexual abuse. In many respects the issue of child sexual abuse remains severely understudied and not well understood in the Caribbean. Generally, there seems to be much less information available on the experiences and vulnerabilities of boys to sexual abuse. Some of the available studies and reports do not adequately address the issues from a gender perspective. Other reports focus heavily on girls and seem to be informed by the view that girls are in all circumstances at significantly greater risk of being sexually abused, but this might not necessarily be true in some instances. Most of the reports and studies also seem to avoid or down play the abuse of both girls and boys by older and more powerful women. This may in part be a direct consequence of the fact that many areas of child sexual abuse in the Caribbean are simply still in need of more detailed research. Whatever the reason there is within the academic and policy discourse on child sex abuse a further wall of silence and taboo surrounding the issue of the abuse of girls and boys especially by older women. Likewise, while there is


the occasional public outcry against the sexual abuse of children with special needs, including children with disabilities and those in state run residential care programmes and institutions, not much is really known about their experiences with sexual abuse and exploitation. There is also a dearth of information on the risks and vulnerabilities to sexual abuse of “street children” in such countries as Jamaica, and Trinidad where there are larger numbers of these children. Overall, while Caribbean countries have made steady but slow progress in tackling the issue child sexual abuse there remains serious challenges and unresolved issues relating to the efforts to prevent and manage responses to child sexual abuse. These challenges and issues include (Howe 2012): • A general lack of specialised services (for example psychological and therapeutic care) • Confusion and fear surrounding disclosure • Insufficient focus on the gender dimensions of child sexual abuse for prevention and treatment purposes • Lack of child friendly police, court and medical procedures for abused children • Insufficient prevention and awareness raising programmes • Persistence of silence, shame and stigma among sexually abuse children and their families • Lack of specialised provisions for specific groups including children between birth and 5 years, children with disabilities, children with cultural and religious peculiarities, and children with language/translation issues • Inadequate data collection and the use of data to inform service provision • No consistent approach to information sharing among child protection agencies • Not enough focus on the provision of service when it is most needed, as opposed to when it becomes available


Conclusion Across the Caribbean there is compelling evidence of the chronic and widespread incidence of child sexual abuse and of the devastating short and long term impacts of this phenomenon on the individual, community and the nation. While progress has been slow in tackling the root causes and effects of the problem and there is growing determination among child rights advocates, communities and state policy makers to break the silence which has historically shrouded the issue. Increasingly too there is greater focus on understanding new forms of child sexual abuse such as may be facilitated through the many new internet-related technologies and social media tool available today and how legislation can be reformed to help prevent the use of these technologies for such purposes. Nevertheless, it is quite clear that a more determined and coordinated effort is needed to prevent and respond to child sex abuse in the region. Arguably, the paramount challenge for Caribbean states is to recognise the multidimensional nature of the child sexual abuse problem and therefore conceive solutions which are multifaceted, focused and integrated.

Bibliography Glenford Howe (2012) Sexual violence against children in the Caribbean. (Report 2012) prepared for UNICEF Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean office, The British High Commission. Halcon Linda (2003) “Adolescent health in the Caribbean: A regional portrait”. American Journal of Public Health vol. 93, no11, November Jones Adele D and Trotman-Jemmott, Ena (2010) Child Sexual Abuse in the Eastern Caribbean: Perceptions of, Attitudes to, and Opinions on Child Sexual Abuse in the Eastern Caribbean. UNICEF and the University of Huddersfield, May. Perrault Nadine (2011) Child Sexual Abuse/Incest in the Caribbean, “Breaking the Walls of Silence” , UNICEF Regional Office, Latin America and the Caribbean, July. UNFPA (2013) State of World population 2013. “Motherhood in Childhood. Facing the challenge of adolescent pregnancy UNICEF (2011) Child safety online: Global challenges and strategies. Florence Italy: UNICEF, Innocenti Research Centre. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Latin America and the Caribbean Region of the World Bank. (2007). Crime, Violence, and Development: Trends, Costs, and Policy Options in the Caribbean. Report No. 37820.


Childhood, disciplining and physical punishment in Uruguay: historical references and current controversies By Sandra Leopold Costábile

El artículo expone algunos registros históricos acerca del castigo físico en el mundo occidental y particularmente en Uruguay, entendido como una práctica correctiva y disciplinadora que los adultos han desarrollado de manera sistemática en relación a los niños y niñas. Asimismo, se colocan algunas reflexiones y debates actuales, que evidencian continuidades y rupturas con respecto a dicha práctica, a partir de la recuperación del tratamiento parlamentario de la Ley N° Ley Nº 18.214, del 9 de diciembre de 2007, que prohíbe en Uruguay, a padres o responsables, así como a toda persona encargada del cuidado, tratamiento, educación o vigilancia de niños y adolescentes, utilizar el castigo físico o cualquier tipo de trato humillante como forma de corrección o disciplina de niños, niñas o adolescentes.

The “supreme mark of infamy”1: punishment, abuse, whippings and beatings Although childhood is not a highly valued field in the study of history in its various branches, and studies addressing the history of childhood are relatively recent – which is why Buenaventura Delgado has referred to children as being “overwhelmingly forgotten by history” – those who have focused on them have not failed to point out, even from different perspectives, their long historical journey, usually anonymous, during which boys and girls have been the systematic object of unbelievable punishments and diverse kinds of abuse from their earliest ages (1998:16). Despite Lloyd deMause’s excessively linear evolutionism in his perspective of the history of childhood, his studies provide indispensable information about La expresión corresponde a Perrot, Michelle (2001), pp. 161.



the methods of corporal punishment carried out and approved of in Western Europe until well into the 18th century. Fetters on their feet, handcuffs, gags, whips, birches, canes, iron or wooden rods and school paddles were some of the instruments of corporal punishment on record. They were used to administer beatings which are usually described in the various historical sources as very severe, causing deep wounds in children’s bodies, and even death, as in the case of the flogging tournaments in Sparta, where children were whipped to the point of death (deMause, 1982). At the same time, while ancient Sparta was known for its extreme severity, it did not engage in one of the most widespread practices in different cultures until quite late in the eighteenth century,2 the practice of binding babies in swaddling clothes and completely depriving them of the use of their limbs, while also moulding their heads into the shape considered desirable by adults. Abrasions in the skin, gangrene, slowing of the circulation, intestinal obstruction and other outcomes were among the effective results of this practice. As from the Renaissance, moderation in physical punishment began to be seSegún Lloyd deMause Inglaterra fue el primer país de Europa Occidental en abandonar la práctica de fajado de los niños a fines del siglo XVIII. Un siglo después lo harían Francia y Alemania. deMause, Lloyd (1982), pp 69.


Doctor of Social Sciences, majoring in Social Work (University of the Republic), Master of Social Work (Federal University of Rio de Janeiro and the University of the Republic), Specialist in Social Policy (Faculty of Social Sciences, University of the Republic), Social Worker (University of the Republic). Teaching and research total dedication regime of the Department of Social Work at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of the Republic. Active researcher at the National Research System of the National Agency for Research and Innovation. She played different roles at the Institute of Child and Adolescent of Uruguay: Director, Department of Social Work (2009-2011); Supervisor Department of Social Work (2006-2009); Supervisor training- Courses Coordinator School Officials / Center for Training and Research (1996- 2006) and social worker (1989-1996). Email Address:


riously advised, although such a recommendation was usually accompanied by the acceptance of moderate punishment, “wisely administered”, as well as the development of alternative forms of punishment. One of these, which became very widespread in the 18th and 19th centuries was locking children up in dark places (deMause, 1982:76). However, Perrot notes that the practice of punishing children physically “may be the point at which social differences are most marked”, inasmuch as in middle-class homes, and even more so, in aristocratic households, children were hardly ever punished, while in peasant homes, and among the urban working classes or the lower middle classes, “blows rained down”. Parents and workshop masters were entitled to use a stick or a whip on their apprentices. Because of this, Perrot states that “having been beaten is one of the memories of a working class childhood during the 19th century” (2001:161-162). The vicissitudes of local history Barrán’s studies show that during the 18th and part of the 19th centuries, physical violence was very prevalent in Uruguay. With regard to the relationship between parents and children, corporal punishment administered by the first upon the latter was not only socially acceptable – and used to force children to go to school or to work, or to correct inappropriate conduct – but was also provided for by the Civil Statute of 1868.3 The power of correcting their children by physical means was not wasted by parents, even once children had attained their majority. As from 1860, a “civilized” Uruguay began to do away with the use of physical force and, instead, would choose to attempt the “repression of the soul”, thus avoiding the spectacle of bodily suffering, which by the early days of the 20th century was being clearly rejected. By means of persuasion, surveillance and the internalization of guilt, more solid and enduring effects related to adherence to the established order would be gained. In this respect, home economics texts at the start of the 20th century provided guidelines on reducing “material authority” and increasing parents’ “moral influence” over children, and promoted obtaining children’s obedience through respect and love. Children should get used to “obeying without answering back or questioning their parents’ 3 El artículo 230 de dicho Código, autorizaba a los padres a corregir “moderadamente” a sus hijos y si esto no fuere suficiente, se le podrá solicitar al juez “que les imponga la pena de detención hasta por lo menos un mes en un establecimiento correccional”.A su vez, el inciso primero del artículo 261, establecía que la pérdida de la patria potestad solo podía sancionarse si el maltrato de padres a hijos “ponía en peligro la vida” o le “causare grave daño” al niño.


orders”. To this end, harshness was not an effective instrument; they should be made to understand that they had a “duty” to obey their parents, and they should be convinced that their parents’ orders or prohibitions were “for their own good”. The purpose of this was to instil “moral values” in such a way that children would eventually get accustomed to “governing themselves” and feel “satisfaction in obeying” (Barrán, 1995, T2:81-83). In school settings, the first restrictions to the corporal punishment of children are recorded in a resolution issued by Montevideo’s town council, enacted on 7 September 1809, which stipulated that the most severe punishments could not exceed six lashes, and at the same time prohibited the use of the paddle. Later, in 1848, all corporal punishment of children in schools was banned, a provision which was reiterated in 1865, although it would still take a couple of decades more to enter effectively into force (Barrán, 1994, T2). Paediatricians also condemned the corporal punishment of children. “Don’t even think of raising your hand against this lovely baby on its way,” warned Dr Atilio Narancio in 1917, while at the same time promoting discipline and the “transformation of savages” by means of “a blend of affection, respect and obedience”, which ultimately involved the combination of bestowing affection and threatening to withdraw it when children were disobedient (Barrán, 1995, T2:56). Despite these ideas attempting to lead forms of correcting children towards persuasion and affection, the dominant medical guidelines of the age warned that such “sweetened” treatment of childhood should not derive in excessive care which would “weaken” children, “soften” moral standards and give rise to “decadence” regarding a respect for authority. As an example of these guidelines, in 1915, the Paediatric Association, in its publication entitled “Instructions for Mothers”, advised against putting babies to sleep in one’s arms, or rocking them, or using a pacifier for that purpose. Even before that, in 1892, Dr. Luis Bergalli recommended cold rather than warm baths, and suggested refraining from warming children’s beds and getting them used to getting up and going to bed early from an early age. All of this advice constituted an attempt to combat sloth and idleness from the moment of birth, with the ultimate aim of “shaping from childhood, methodical, virtuous, hard-working and healthy men” (Barrán, 1995, T2:58).


In the same vein, public schools – functioning as medical auxiliaries – had their own guidelines with instructions on how children should eat, dress, play and keep clean. “Refrain from shouting, chew slowly and unhurriedly, make sure to have a daily bowel movement, eat in moderation and at fixed hours ( ) brush your teeth between two and four times a day, wash your hands whenever they get dirty and before sitting down at the table, etc.” all of which constituted disciplined routines which “sought to form the habit of obeying ‘logical’ healthrelated orders, which would then lead to a habit of obeying the ‘logical’ orders of society and the established order” (Barrán, 1995, T2: 59). In short, punishing someone means – as Ignacio Lewkowicz reminds us – “make him pure, limpid, clean” (2008:82). It is enough to remember that in Spanish, castigar (to punish) is etymologically derived from castigare, from castus (chaste, pure) and agere (make). Although corporal punishment was discredited after the birth and development of “civilized” sensibility and parents were advised in the use of “natural punishments”,4 historical evidence gathered by Barrán on the period following the 1900s indicates that corporal punishment administered by parents was socially acceptable, within “prudent” limits, which was in keeping with the “moderation” to which the Civil Statute referred, or the appropriate correction stipulated in the Childhood and Adolescence Statute. Both terms were repealed on 9 December 2007, when Uruguay enacted Law Nº 18,214, which prohibits parents or responsible persons, as well as any person in charge of the care, handling, education or surveillance of children and adolescents in Uruguay from using corporal punishment or any kind of humiliating treatment as a form of correcting or disciplining children or adolescents.

4 “ Un niño que se echa a perder el traje nuevo, no va al paseo porque no tiene traje ( ) Una niña que rompe su muñeca, se verá privada de ese juguete por todo el tiempo que razonablemente debería durarle el que rompió; un niño que rompe un vaso por descuido, deberá comprar otro, y con ese objetivo irán juntándose los centésimos ( ) ; el niño que no esté a la hora de comer en la mesa, por entretenerse fuera de casa sin necesidad , no comerá postre”. Estas son algunas de las <penas naturales> recomendadas en las “Lecciones de Economía Doméstica” de Emma Catalá de Princivalle, publicada en 1905, en Montevideo, en Barrán, José Pedro (1994), T2, pp. 83-84


Banish or Moderate? Dilemmas posed by the use of corporal punishment on children in parliamentary debate 5 Current corporal punishment actions as related to children and adolescents are significantly different – in scope, intensity, aims and levels of social acceptance – from those that prevailed in Uruguay prior to capitalistic modernization. Nonetheless, the corporal punishment of children constitutes a practice for which there is empirical evidence in contemporary social life. What are the assumptions that now, at the beginning of the 21st century, underpin the practice of punishing a child’s body with a view to correction? What makes it “justifiable” or “necessary”? Norbert Elias identified an increasingly widespread rejection of the use of physical violence as a form of repressing children by their parents, as from the 80s in the last century. This trend, which the author associates with more complex, rigorously organized and mostly pacified societies, was part of a wave of informalization – understood as a relaxation of the barriers of respect in dealings between parents and children – which is one of the many examples of the complex nature which, according to Elias, the civilizing movement of that time displayed (1998). In his view, there were two factors which would drive forward, and even force this transformation, which, while including the loosening of traditional taboos in relations between the generations, also gave rise to a taboo against violence in these relationships. One was national legislation – with Law Nº 18,214 as an example – and the other the self-regulation of individuals in view of a growing awareness which rejected the use of physical violence in dealings between human beings and, specifically, in intra-family relations (1998:443). From the perspective of those sponsoring the draft bill, corporal punishment was being brought into question, promoting the necessary revision of the meaning and content of corrective actions involving children, which included reflections upon the “responsibility entailed by the education of children and adoles-

5 Se recupera aquí de manera sintética el debate parlamentario que resultó con la aprobación de la Ley Nº 18.214 del 9 de diciembre de 2007.



cents, with a great deal of patience in order to avoid the inclusion of violence”.6 Thus, an appeal was made for adults to “take measures themselves” before engaging in their practices for the punishment of children, thereby suggesting a strategy which could well be included among the requirements of “individual self-control” mentioned by Elias. In addition, a second perspective that unfolded in parliament expressed its rejection of the draft bill submitted to legislators’ consideration, in the understanding that it basically answered to a “theory of permissiveness” that “did so much harm to so many generations in the world and in our country”. According to this vision, while adopting a position which was opposed to corporal punishment and humiliating treatment, the emphasis of the discussion should be placed on “reasonable” limits – those which “children are clamouring to be provided with” – and in which a physical action (“a slap on the bottom”) would help the child to “keep in mind” the prohibition or corrective action”.7 Does “moderate” corporal punishment enable children to understand a restriction or the “corrective modality” imposed upon them? In his studies of political and family violence, Carlos Sluzki asserts that “violence has devastating effects when the act of violence is re-labelled (‘This is not violence, it’s education’). Its effects, such as physical pain, are denied (‘It doesn’t hurt that much’). Values and their corollary are redefined (‘I’m doing this for your own good’ or, ‘I’m doing this because you deserve it’). Roles are mythified (‘I’m doing this because I love you’) or the position of agent is redirected (‘It is you who are making me do this’)” (1995:353). Until well into the Renaissance, in the Western world, when children were physically punished, it was stated that the person beating them was the “guardian of their own assets” (Dolto, 1993:31), clearly a move which might be recognized, as Sluzki would put it, as a “redefinition of values” and which could be linked to the widespread contemporary maxim: “I’m doing this for your own good”. Diario de Sesiones de la Cámara de Senadores. Tercer Periodo Ordinario de la XLVI Legislatura, 27ª Sesión Ordinaria. Nº 166. Tomo 444. 14 de agosto de 2007. Uruguay.





Does the defence of a “reasonable” setting of limits and “moderate” corporal punishment as stated by the legislator in the second vision not entail a “relabelling” (this is not permissiveness nor violence, but education)? Is the corollary to his values not being redefined (the harm caused by the “theory of permissiveness” is avoided; therefore, the intervention is made for the “good” of the child)? Is the agent’s position not being redirected (children are “clamouring” for limits)? Are roles not being mythified (everyone has corrected a child “moderately”)? Finally, is physical pain not being denied (the “slap on the bottom” is not corporal punishment and therefore causes no pain)?

List of References BARRAN, JOSE PEDRO (1994) Historia de la Sensibilidad en el Uruguay. La cultura “bárbara” (18001860), Tomo 1 Ediciones de la Banda Oriental. Facultad de Humanidades y Ciencias de la Educación. Universidad de la República. Montevideo. BARRAN, JOSE PEDRO (1994a) Historia de la Sensibilidad en el Uruguay. El disciplinamiento (1860-1920). Tomo 2. Ediciones de la Banda Oriental, Facultad de Humanidades y Ciencias de la Educación. Universidad de la República. Montevideo DELGADO, BUENAVENTURA (1998) Historia de la Infancia. Ariel. Barcelona deMAUSE, LLOYD (1982) La historia de la infancia Alianza Universidad. Madrid. DOLTO, FRANÇOISE. (1993) La causa de los niños .Ediciones Paidós. Barcelona ELIAS NORBERT. (1998) La civilización de los padres y otros ensayos. Grupo Edito-


rial Norma. Santa Fe de Bogotá. LEWKOWICZ, IGNACIO (2008) Pensar sin Estado. La subjetividad en la era de la fluidez. Paidós. Buenos Aires. PERROT, MICHELLE (2001) “Figuras y Funciones” en ARIÉS, PHILIPPE; DUBY, GEORGES Historia de la Vida Privada. De la Revolución Francesa a la Primera Guerra Mundial. Volumen 4.Grupo Santillana de Ediciones. Madrid. SLUZKI, CARLOS (1995) “Violencia familiar y violencia política. Implicancias terapéuticas y de un modelo general”, en Nuevos Paradigmas, Cultura y Subjetividad. Paidós. Buenos Aires Documentary Sources Diario de Sesiones de la Cámara de Representantes. Tercer Período Ordinario de la XLVI Legislatura. 68ª Sesión Extraordinaria. N ° 3467 - 20 de noviembre de 2007 Uruguay Diario de Sesiones de la Cámara de Senadores. Tercer Periodo Ordinario de la XLVI Legislatura, 27ª Sesión Ordinaria. Nº 166. Tomo 444. 14 de agosto de 2007. Uruguay. Ley Nº 18.214 del 9 de diciembre de 2007, Uruguay.




Bulletin IINfancia N°1 June/2016  

Bulletin IINfancia N°1 June/2016

Bulletin IINfancia N°1 June/2016  

Bulletin IINfancia N°1 June/2016