Cathedral vigil for child victims of violence

The Archbishop of Wales washing the feet on 11-year-old Lucy Coughlin at a vigil in Cardiff to mark Universal Children's Day last November.

Brecon Cathedral is holding a vigil next week as part of a campaign to end legalised violence against children.

The vigil is part of a roadshow at the cathedral on 25 and 26 April where help and advice will be available to parents on how to manage children's behaviour in positive ways.

During the vigil, candles will be lit to remember children who have suffered violence. Children taking part in the vigil will have their feet washed as a sign of respect.

The roadshow is being run by the Churches' Network for Non-violence and the charity Children in Wales. Both organisations are part of the Children Are Unbeatable! campaign, which is also calling for a ban on smacking children.

The vigil on Friday evening will be led the Dean of Brecon, Geoffrey Marshall.

He said, "Every parent and carer knows that disciplining children is not easy – I certainly found it difficult at times when bringing up my own children and am discovering it afresh with my three young grandchildren.

"However, resorting to violence and smacking is not effective and should no longer be seen as acceptable behaviour or reasonable punishment.

"There are far better ways of teaching children how to respect boundaries and behave well and that message needs to get out to every family.

"Ending violence against children is a religious imperative and the church has a responsibility to work with others to do so.

"During the service we will remember all children who have suffered from violence, demonstrate our respect for children and dedicate ourselves to listening to them and playing our part in making our homes and communities safe places for children to grow and flourish."

Chris Dodd, co-ordinator of the Churches' Network for Non-Violence said, "This vigil is being held as a mark of respect for children and an expression of solidarity and support towards ending legalised violence against children.

"Violence against children is incompatible with the core religious principles of compassion, justice, equality and nonviolence and it breaches a child's fundamental right to respect for human dignity and physical integrity.

"Prohibition of all corporal punishment of children, together with support for positive, non-violent discipline is a key to a more compassionate and peaceful world. Action is needed now to end this common-place violence against children."

The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan has previously spoken of his support for a ban on smacking.

He was one of the signatories of a statement last year saying that legislation to remove the defence of reasonable punishment was "crucial because it reflects the compassionate, non-violent society we want for all our children".

The End Legalised Violence Against Children Roadshow will be held on April 25 from 10am-5pm and on April 26 from 10am-3pm at Brecon Cathedral. The vigil, also at the Cathedral, begins at 6pm on April 26.

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