Protecting Children From Physical Violence

June 25, 2002

The Hon. Martin Cauchon, P.C., M.P.,
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada,
East Memorial Building, 4th floor,
284 Wellington Street,
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0H8

Dear Mr. Cauchon,

The National Council of Women of Canada (NCWC), founded in 1893 with the mission to improve conditions of life for women and their families in the communities where they live, is pleased to support the initiatives of the Repeal 43 Committee.

At the NCWC Annual General Meeting held in June 2000, members adopted as policy a resolution entitled Protecting Children from Physical Violence – Section 43 of the Criminal Code ( Policy 2000.2). NCWC called on the Government of Canada “to amend the Criminal Code and the Department of Health Act (Security of the Child) to give children the same rights to personal security from abuse and assault which society extends to other citizens in keeping with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child”.

NCWC members, after careful discussion, agreed that Section 43, which justifies the use of corporal punishment as “rightful conduct”, is an outdated concept that was part of English Common Law. At the present time, because of the presence of Section 43, it is possible for parents or others to escape conviction when charged with Child Abuse. Also, citizens and relatives who know of instances of severe beatings hesitate to report them because they may come from a background themselves where children were subjected to regular beatings which never were so severe as to threaten their lives.

National Council of Women of Canada, a non-partisan non-governmental organization (NGO), is a federation of organizations and individual members, a member of the International Council of Women, holds Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) at the United Nations, and is a participating NGO with the Organization of American States (OAS/CIM).

With best wishes,

Catharine Laidlaw-Sly
c.c. Rt. Hon. Jean Chrétien
Hon. Anne McLellan