In the Child and Youth Protection Centre of the City of Zagreb, we work with sexually abused children and their families every day. I am proud to say that here they can find a safe place where they get help and support. On the European Day on the protection of children against sexual exploitation and sexual abuse, 18 November, we remind parents to read our publications about how to recognise and respond if the child has been sexually abused:
International No Hitting Day for Children is celebrated throughout the world with occasional educational warnings of the dangers of physical punishment on this day, April 30th. Everyday practice and research such as this latest research Brave phone show, however, that many parents still use methods of corporal punishment of children and that they do not see anything controversial, often without knowing it violates the law.
Some parents will say that every spanking is not child abuse, and they are right, but every form of physical punishment is violence against children, and as such, fortunately, prohibited by law since 1999. in Croatia. So, in Croatia we will soon celebrate 20 years of prohibition of physical punishment. Unfortunately, many parents and even some experts who work with children do not know that.
In my long-lasting clinical practice, I often heard from parents that they think that hitting is actually an act of showing love because they think that they beat the children for their own good. Sometimes, however, they say to the children: ” I beat you because I love you ” or “I’m beating you for your own good” or “It hurts me more than you”. “One day you will say thank you for it.” Thus children learn that people who love them are also people who hurt them, which can later be transferred to peer and partner relationships. In this way, young people are confused, so girls can accept that beatings are a way of showing love because they did so by her parents, but also that a young man learns that beating are way to show love to his girlfriend. Also, corporal punishment by a parent can become a learned pattern of behavior that children when they grow up transferred to their children and grandchildren, raising them in the way they have been reared – by strikes and violence.
Since the consequences of any form of violence against children are well-known, we would not really have to talk about it in 2018 anymore.
Many parents who watched the movie “Trampolin” directed by Zrinka Katarina Matijević from 2016 told me that after that they decided they would never put their hands on their child again.
I really recommend this movie. It can be seen on the HRTi portal on the link: