Corporal punishment - must doctors report it?

04 Aug 2021
04 Aug 2021

Senior Lecturer in UCT's Department of Public Law, Salona Lutchman, recently published an article in the SAMJ titled Corporal punishment in the home: Is there a legal duty on the medical doctor to report it?

In this article Lutchman writes:

"In September 2019, the SA Constitutional Court held in the Freedom of Religion South Africa (FORSA) judgment that corporal punishment inflicted by parents (including guardians and caregivers) on their children was unconstitutional. With this judgment, corporal punishment has finally been completely eradicated from the SA law books.

What does the FORSA judgment mean for medical doctors who suspect that a child has been inflicted with corporal punishment at home? Children are right holders. The Constitution and the Children’s Act provide children with a suite of rights, the most foundational being that the best interests of the child is of paramount importance in every matter regarding the child."

Lutchman's article on the Con Court ruling, which has immediate direct implications for the medical profession, was featured in Medical Brief (14 July 2021), where an accessible synopsis is provided.

International Law and Children's Rights

Salona teams up with Public Law colleague Nurina Ally - forming a team of two leading Children's Rights experts - to offer a refreshed course in 2022 on International Rights of the Child. This is a Masters-level course that can be taken as an elective as part of the Faculty's LLM in Human Rights, amongst other programme options. More information is available about this course elective on the School for Advanced Legal Studies site.