Cairo – An Egyptian member of the parliament has proposed the first-ever law which criminalises violence against children, including that committed by parents, local news outlets reported Monday.
MP Enas Abdel-Halim suggested an amendment to the already active legislation enacted in 1996 - and amended in 2008 - that a parent or a guardian should be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison if they cause the loss of a child's life, reports said.
She further proposed that the new amendments should involve prison sentences from three to five years in cases of inflicting an injury into a child, causing a damage in part of the body or loss of sight in one eye or the two.
The Egyptian Child’s Law does not criminalise the negligence of parents to their children. Only severe violations are penalised by six months to three years of imprisonment.
Egypt has in recent years witnessed several incidents of child abuse and negligence at the hands of parents in the absence of deterring laws that can protect young, vulnerable victims.
A 2015 UN report found that adults in Egypt largely consider violence against children as an acceptable means of discipline, with 50 percent of parents and 35 percent of teachers declaring physical violence as "necessary in certain situations".
"Violence against children is vast and its repercussions can be irreversible," said Dr. Azza El Ashmawy, secretary general of the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood. "It violates their basic right of welfare and dignity.
"The Egyptian child law and the 2014 constitution guaranteed that right for them. However, many parents, teachers and caregivers still practice or tolerate using violence against children."