Faith leaders and charities take a stand on violence against children

Endorsing the recommendations of the United Nations Secretary General's Global Study on Violence Against Children, released yesterday, members of the UK's major faith groups and charities will make a commitment to protecting children from all forms of violence.

During a special service on Saturday 14 October at Coventry Cathedral to highlight this issue, members of the Anglican, Catholic, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh, Methodist and Jewish communities as well as representatives from the NSPCC, Save the Children, Barnardos and the Children's Society will sign a special charter. An initiative of the Churches' Network For Non-Violence (CNNV), the Coventry Charter for Children and Non-Violence pledges to work in cooperation to foster respect for children, to campaign for greater recognition of children's rights under law and to support all those working with children.

Ms Christine Dodd, Coordinator of the CNNV, said; 'We believe that children are entitled to the same level of protection as adults and that no form of violence against children is justifiable. The protection of children is the responsibility of the whole community and working together towards a culture of respect for children is a key towards ending violence against children'.

In particular, the Charter raises concerns about the corporal punishment of children as currently legal in the UK and the need to foster non-violent forms of parenting. It promotes and supports children's human rights as set out in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, described by Nelson Mandela in 2000 as 'That luminous living document that enshrines the rights of every living child without exception to a life of dignity and fulfilment'.

All are welcome to attend Saturday's service at 2:30pm, which will bring together those of different faiths and none. The first of a series of such events, it will feature a celebration of children as made in God's likeness with a real contribution to make to family and community life. Candles will be lit to signify the respect that children deserve and to remember those around the world suffering from violence.

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