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Child Punishment and Maltreatment in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq: Causes and Consequences. A Field Study in Erbil City

TAHA, HAKIM,QADIR,TAHA (2019) Child Punishment and Maltreatment in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq: Causes and Consequences. A Field Study in Erbil City. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



Child punishment and maltreatment have become a global concern affecting both rich and poor countries. Child punishment and maltreatment in Kurdish families is a major social, religious and cultural issue that needs to be addressed. However, the topic receives little public recognition and is poorly understood. This research attempts to address gaps in knowledge relating to the topic of child punishment and maltreatment and to make recommendations for policy and practice.
Child punishment and maltreatment are multi faceted and complex phenomena, comprising a range of concerns about the treatment of children both within and outside the family. As an under-reported and under-recognised issue in Kurdish society, this study focuses specifically on the nature and extent of punishment of children by parents in Kurdish households. Gender related issues are also considered, particularly early and forced child marriage as well as so-called ‘honour killings’. The main objective of this research is to shed fresh light on child punishment and maltreatment in Kurdish families in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, particularly in its capital, Erbil City.
The research used a mixed methods approach based on a survey of 320 parents of children aged between one and 18 years old, as well as semi-structured interviews with 19 professionals employed in various child welfare services such as Save the Children and Helpline 116, as well as academics in the Psychology, Social Work and Sociology Departments at Salahaddin University.
Over 90% of the participating parents (mothers fractionally more than fathers) used forms of physical and emotional punishment that could constitute child maltreatment. Children of all ages were exposed to punishments constituting maltreatment, but younger children experienced less maltreatment than older children. The majority of the interview respondents believed that religion and gender are major contributory factors influencing expressions of severe child punishment and maltreatment in the Kurdistan Region. 66.9% of parents surveyed were not aware that severe forms of punishments they used amounted to child maltreatment, rather they considered them to be socially acceptable and part of normal parental disciplinary measures. Professional respondents were of the view that there is a lack of legislation in the Kurdistan Region concerning the protection of children from forms of severe punishment, as well as a lack of support for social workers engaging in attempts to intervene in the lives of abused children.
The study calls for increased attention by the Kurdistan Regional Government, NGOs, Kurdish households and society to work together to raise public awareness and address abusive forms of child punishment. This includes government action to establish legal provisions to underpin more effective child protection practice.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Child discipline,Child punishment,Child maltreatment
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Sociology, Department of
Thesis Date:2019
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:11 Dec 2019 12:15

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