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Reformatory CP - November 1980

Corpun file 6389


The Sun, London, 4 November 1980

Storm over caning of girl aged 15

Council home thrashing for a runaway

By Brian Dixon

A STORM broke out yesterday over the "barbaric" caning of a 15-year-old girl.

She was caned on the bottom, over her clothing, in a social services home.

Another 16 children -- all boys aged 11 to 15 -- have received canings in the last year in homes run by the same council.

The girl, who was in council care, was punished for repeatedly running away from the home and mixing with drug addicts and prostitutes.

The boys' offences ranged from vandalism to petty theft.

The canings took place in homes run by the Tory controlled Nottinghamshire county council.

It is the first time a girl has been caned since the council reintroduced corporal punishment three years ago.


Her caning was condemned by the British Association of Social Workers.

Assistance general secretary David Swaysland said: "It is appalling to flog children in care.

"Beating them is not the proper solution to disciplinary problems. There are more effective ways."

Tom Scott, an official of STOPP -- the Society of Teachers Opposed to Physical Punishment -- joined the protests.

He said: "Caning boys is bad enough, but beating a young woman is totally barbaric.

"God knows what harm it has done to her."

Mr Scott said that corporal punishment for girls and women was abolished by courts in 1820 -- 17 years before Queen Victoria took the throne.


Mr Scott added: "The council have become known as The Floggers of Nottinghamshire -- a disgraceful and disreputable reputation."

Professor Bob Green, who has conducted research into the effects of canings, said: "Beating children for truancy only encourages them to go away and stay away."

Corporal punishment was re-introduced into Notts County Council homes and orphanages three years ago when the Tories won control.

Staff are allowed to give up to six strokes on the bottom, over clothes, as "a last resort".

Boys or girls aged seven to 17 can be caned.

Notts council leader Herbert Bird said last night: "I believe in cane 'em and birch 'em."


"If girls ask for punishment they should get it. There are too many do-gooders in this world."

A report on punishments in the council's homes will be discussed by its social services committee tomorrow.

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