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Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) List Serve

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Welcome to the database of past Child-Maltreatment-Research-L (CMRL) list serve messages (10,000+). The table below contains all past CMRL messages (text only, no attachments) from Nov. 20, 1996 - September 14, 2018 and is updated quarterly.

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Message ID: 8029
Date: 2009-01-22

Author:Willems J (IR)

Subject:RE: Child Trauma

Dear Mark Chaffin, Science may not tell us values but children’s human rights do. This is a universal process in which, formally speaking, 193 out of 195 states participate (190 out of 192 UN member states plus 3 other states/entities). These 193 states are parties to the CRC (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, New York 1989). Of the two outsider states, who both have signed but not yet ratified the CRC, namely Somalia and the US (the US in 1995 under the Clinton administration), the latter may ratify under the Obama administration. The US will then be recommended, as all the other state parties are, to have a ban as a framework and legal basis for parenting education on positive discipline for all parents. Of course, the US will be free to demonstrate that it does not need a ban in order to achieve universal parenting education (that is, for all parents in the US). It will, nonetheless, remain a universal child right to be protected against any form of violence, including in the home, through law and education, that is, through education and empowerment of children and parents and a (family law) ban on corporal punishment and humiliation. The US may be the last state to ratify but need it also be the last one to have a ban? A definition of child abuse and neglect should refer both to science (facts) and child rights (values). And thus, directly or indirectly, to the responsibilities of all stakeholders (parents, states, institutions, professionals, bystanders, children themselves …). Kind regards, Jan CM Willems Prof Dr Jan CM Willems Department of International and European Law and Maastricht Center for Human Rights Maastricht University Faculty of Law, The Netherlands child Maltreatment, Early childhood and children’s Rights research program (MERchild) www.unimaas.nl/default.asp?template=werkveld.htm&id=3557A05360I5O1B774N7&taal=nl j.willems@ir.unimaas.nl Parenting education for all parents. Always. Everywhere. -----Original Message----- From: bounce-3484397-6833864@list.cornell.edu [mailto:bounce-3484397-6833864@list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Chaffin, Mark J. (HSC) Sent: woensdag 21 januari 2009 17:04 To: Child Maltreatment Researchers Subject: RE: Child Trauma re: physical abuse and corporal punishment and state control Virtually all states limit the things that parents can do to their children, and very few people (except those who are accused) object to that in principle. Regardless of how much helpful health promotion or prevention work is done, the need will remain for a mechanism to legitimize state interference into parenting that we view as intolerable or outrageous. The main questions are where and how the line is drawn, whether the line is sharp or fuzzy, and what undesirable behavior we categorize as indicating a need for voluntary helpful guidance, and what behavior we designate as justifying intrusive state action. Its should be no surprise that different cultures and groups draw these lines differently. This means that what we label as child abuse is malleable, is as much a matter of values as facts, and is not necessarily equivalent to what is factually determined to be harmful. Obviously, we value protecting children from harm, so these are not independent constructs. Still, there are lots of things in this world that are harmful or traumatic to children, but we tolerate them and don't call them child abuse or even try very hard to prevent them. And, frankly, there are a few things we call (and should call) clear child abuse aren't all that harmful and certainly not invariably harmful. Because science can only tell us facts, not values, we shouldn't be surprised that the impact of science on child abuse definitions and social policy has its limits. People in our field often try to push the line in a certain direction, armed with facts. We may need to keep in mind that the facts aren't necessarily the issue, and that when it comes to social change, political consensus may be more the issue. For example, in the US, we might create political consensus in favor of public health approaches to promote "positive child discipline" or maybe even to discourage "harsh childrearing." Arguing for a ban on all corporal punishment, on the other hand, might prompt a fairly entertaining and dramatic cultural or political reaction. Mark Chaffin

Dear Mark Chaffin, Science may not tell us values but children’s human rights do. This is a universal process in which, formally speaking, 193 out of 195 states participate (190 out of 192 UN member states plus 3 other states/entities). These 193 states are parties to the CRC (UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, New York 1989). Of the two outsider states, who both have signed but not yet ratified the CRC, namely Somalia and the US (the US in 1995 under the Clinton administration), the latter may ratify under the Obama administration. The US will then be recommended, as all the other state parties are, to have a ban as a framework and legal basis for parenting education on positive discipline for all parents. Of course, the US will be free to demonstrate that it does not need a ban in order to achieve universal parenting education (that is, for all parents in the US). It will, nonetheless, remain a universal child right to be protected against any form of violence, including in the home, through law and education, that is, through education and empowerment of children and parents and a (family law) ban on corporal punishment and humiliation. The US may be the last state to ratify but need it also be the last one to have a ban? A definition of child abuse and neglect should refer both to science (facts) and child rights (values). And thus, directly or indirectly, to the responsibilities of all stakeholders (parents, states, institutions, professionals, bystanders, children themselves …). Kind regards, Jan CM Willems Prof Dr Jan CM Willems Department of International and European Law and Maastricht Center for Human Rights Maastricht University Faculty of Law, The Netherlands child Maltreatment, Early childhood and children’s Rights research program (MERchild) www.unimaas.nl/default.asp?template=werkveld.htm&id=3557A05360I5O1B774N7&taal=nl j.willemsir.unimaas.nl Parenting education for all parents. Always. Everywhere. -----Original Message----- From: bounce-3484397-6833864list.cornell.edu [mailto:bounce-3484397-6833864list.cornell.edu] On Behalf Of Chaffin, Mark J. (HSC) Sent: woensdag 21 januari 2009 17:04 To: Child Maltreatment Researchers Subject: RE: Child Trauma re: physical abuse and corporal punishment and state control Virtually all states limit the things that parents can do to their children, and very few people (except those who are accused) object to that in principle. Regardless of how much helpful health promotion or prevention work is done, the need will remain for a mechanism to legitimize state interference into parenting that we view as intolerable or outrageous. The main questions are where and how the line is drawn, whether the line is sharp or fuzzy, and what undesirable behavior we categorize as indicating a need for voluntary helpful guidance, and what behavior we designate as justifying intrusive state action. Its should be no surprise that different cultures and groups draw these lines differently. This means that what we label as child abuse is malleable, is as much a matter of values as facts, and is not necessarily equivalent to what is factually determined to be harmful. Obviously, we value protecting children from harm, so these are not independent constructs. Still, there are lots of things in this world that are harmful or traumatic to children, but we tolerate them and don't call them child abuse or even try very hard to prevent them. And, frankly, there are a few things we call (and should call) clear child abuse aren't all that harmful and certainly not invariably harmful. Because science can only tell us facts, not values, we shouldn't be surprised that the impact of science on child abuse definitions and social policy has its limits. People in our field often try to push the line in a certain direction, armed with facts. We may need to keep in mind that the facts aren't necessarily the issue, and that when it comes to social change, political consensus may be more the issue. For example, in the US, we might create political consensus in favor of public health approaches to promote "positive child discipline" or maybe even to discourage "harsh childrearing." Arguing for a ban on all corporal punishment, on the other hand, might prompt a fairly entertaining and dramatic cultural or political reaction. Mark Chaffin