In the Dominican Republic, 51% of children are exposed to punishment in their homes

  • The number comes from a study by World Vision with Gallup.
  • World Vision expresses concern about the levels of violence rooted in Dominican culture, to "discipline" children and adolescents.

Santo Domingo (February 15, 2016).- World Vision and the research company Gallup presented on Monday the preliminary results of a quantitative-qualitative analysis of the phenomenon of physical abuse in children and adolescents in the Dominican Republic, which confirms the trend of parents resorting to violent methods of discipline in Dominican homes.

The study was conducted with the triangulation method, using the Enhogar Survey 2014, conducted by the National Statistics Office; in-depth interviews with experts and institutions related to child protection, and reviewing relevant documents of the legal and institutional framework for protection of children against abuse.

According to the findings in this analysis, at least 51% of children and adolescents are exposed to some kind of punishment in their homes, of whom 22.5% suffered physical punishment. However, 92.7% of household heads interviewed ensures they do not agree with physical abuse of children; 5.8% does agree.

Among the parents who said they agreed with spanking as a method of disciplining their children, 67.7% are men and 32.3% are women. In addition, 6 out of 10 punishments are carried out regularly by the "father" of the home.

Anyway, children reported their home as the place where they feel safer, followed by the church and school.

I addition, 71.9% of household heads report using positive discipline in raising their children, as well as tips and explanations to their children on why their behavior is wrong.

When analyzing the strata in which violence against children occurs at home, corporal punishment has an occurrence of 28.3% in the poorest quintile of the population compared with 12.9% in the richest quintile.

The data were presented by the research company and advocacy director for World Vision, Francisco Leonardo Felix, who expressed concern at the persistence of various forms of violence against children in Dominican homes.

From left to right, David Coates, director of World Vision Dominican Republic and Francisco Leonardo Feliz, coordinator of Advocacy and Mobilization of World Vision in the country.

He said World Vision calls for the criminalization of physical punishment, while promoting tender parenting methods in order to reduce levels of violence to which children are exposed, especially in their homes.

He cited as part of the findings of this investigation that out of 1,634 cases reported during the period January to June 2015, at the Department of Children, Youth, and Family of the Attorney General's Office, 823 cases were classified as offenses against children, and adolescents. Of these, 43.9% corresponds to physical abuse; 12.6% to psychological and verbal abuse; 13% to threats, 10% to neglect; 0.2%, lack of supervision; 1% retention and transfer of individuals, 5.3% retention and transfer of parents and 14% to other offenses.

However, 74% of cases were resolved through settlements, 20.5% were not prosecuted and only 5.5% went to trial.