“The Adventures of Looney Balloony” to end violence against children in Amman Study: 42.1% believe parents have the right to hit their children for disciplinary purposes


A recent study conducted by NCFA showed that 42.1% of families approve child beating as a disciplinary measure. In this respect, specialists called for the enhancement of awareness programs on positive parenting skills to end violence against children.
The aforementioned figure revealed by NCFA’s Acting Secretary-General Mohammad Miqdady came at a time when NCFA in cooperation with UNICEF is carrying out public awareness campaigns aimed at combating violence against children. Targeting several governorates in Jordan, an interactive festival titled “Adventures of Looney Balloony kicked off as part of the campaign to raise awareness on the dangers of violence and encourage the adoption of positive parenting skills.
Attending the festival, Minister of Social Development Hala Bseiso said that “Jordan exerts tremendous efforts to combat the phenomenon of violence against children”, referring to Jordan’s multi-sector national plan of action for combating violence against children.
Representing the Prime Minister, Bseiso stressed the important role of the family stating that “the family has the duty of providing necessary means of protection for their children and should promote respect for each other and for their privacies.”
Bseiso added that “some believe that violence is a disciplinary parenting method that helps educate and offer guidance to children. Although it is in practice, research and practices have proven that it is harmful for the family and its members and threatens their physical, psychological and mental health and educational attainment”.
“Because of that, the government, society and specialists have joined efforts to combat, criminalize and pursue violence and place alternative educational programs to convince those who commit violence of its harmful effects and offer alternatives”, she continued.
On his part, Assistant Public Security Director for Judicial Affairs Brigadier General Walid Battah underlined the participatory approach adopted by the Public Security Directorate in handling family and child protection against violence.
Deputized by the Director of the Public Security Directorate, Battah pointed out that privacy is observed when dealing with cases related to children in need of protection referring to the child protection procedures.
On his part, NCFA’s Acting Secretary General Mohammad Miqdady briefed the audience on the National Plan of Action for Combating Violence against Children developed by NCFA and launched in cooperation with the Ministries of Social Development, Education, Health and Awqaf and Islamic Affairs and the Public Security Directorate.
Miqdady said that “although efforts have been exerted in the past few years, they are not enough in the absence of targeted awareness-raising”, added Miqdady explaining that “festival activities that will tour the Kingdom for a month or more are part of awareness-raising efforts targeting society and families.”
Miqdady emphasized the importance of these educational and informing activities as “they help promote the values of dialogue and positive parenting among families by engaging them in a range of interactive quality activities.”
In his speech, Miqdady alluded to the findings of NCFA’s report on the status of the Jordanian family in 2018 which revealed in one of its pillars pertinent to violence against children that 40.1% of families believe that family violence is a private matter and that families should not seek official or public institutions to solve it.
The report, yet to be launched, also showed that 42.1% believe that parents have the right to hit their children for disciplinary purposes and that 26.7% think that the teacher also has the right to hit students for educational purposes.
Miqdady also referred to Article 62 of the Penal Code which allows disciplinary beating of children by their parents, wondering why this Article is still in force after 20 years of work to combat this phenomenon.
It is to be noted that the “Adventures of Looney Balloony” is a platform created by NCFA and UNICEF aimed at raising the awareness of family members on the risks associated with violence against children and engaging them in this issue through a range of activities. These activities include several interactive theatre shows presented by the National Interactive Theatre Group under the title “Full stop… Begin a new line” which talks about positive parenting. Children will also enjoy storytelling shows by Yazan Massarweh, take pictures with famous Looney Balloony characters and play with balloons and handprint games.
The festival also hosts a photo exhibition presenting 30 stories and pictures inspired by true stories of physical, verbal and sexual violence and their effects on survivors using a new technique called lenticular printing which is used for the first time in Jordan. Moreover, several training sessions on counseling are organized in addition to providing social counseling services for participating families.
The festival opens in Amman tomorrow and will tour other governorates including Irbid during the period 18th -29th of October, Zarqa 5th -6th October, and Aqaba 12th -13th of October accompanied by child-friendly characters to spread a message of the importance of positive parenting.