Many parents in Asian households still subscribe to the traditional way of disciplining children which is through physical punishment. However, this practice had taken a darker turn in some cases of families here in Japan, which unfortunately end up in fatal cases of child abuse.
Owing to this fact, citizens have raised concerns over the matter for which the government has explored measures to address the situation in the country.
Gov’t Looks to Tighten Child Abuse Law to Address Fatal Cases of Abuse in Japan
On Tuesday (March 19), the government has approved a plan to legally ban parents and other legal guardians from physically punishing children following reported fatal cases of abuse performed in the name of discipline, as shared in a report by Japan Today.
According to the report, the government seeks to pass a bill to modify the child abuse prevention law and related legislation during the on-going parliamentary session, which are set out to be implemented by April next year. However, no penalties are to be enforced against offenders.
As mentioned, under the proposed amendments to existing child protection laws, parents, foster parents and welfare workers would not be allowed to physically punish children as a means of discipline.
Based on existing laws, assault and lewd acts are considered abuse, but the only clause which addresses disciplining methods among children, states that people “shall give due consideration to appropriate exercise” of parental authority.
The proposed changes would solidify the role of child welfare services to intervene in cases of abuse by separating staff members in charge of taking children into protective custody from those dealing with the guardians.
Furthermore, the policy revisions would also emphasize the importance of the confidentiality obligations among schools, education boards, and child welfare centres, in dealing with sensitive cases of child abuse among troubled homes and parents.
With the establishment of stronger child protection and welfare laws, communities are also expected to have an active participation in network building to watch over and respond to such cases, and ultimately not to keep families isolated from society.