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Children’s safety in the Caribbean Netherlands better regulated

Children's safety in the Caribbean Netherlands better regulated

The Hague- The safety of children always comes first. Especially within a family. This must be clear, both in the European Netherlands and in the Caribbean Netherlands (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba). That is why it is added to the BES Civil Code that parents are responsible for the safety of the child.

No mental or physical violence may be used when raising a child. Nor is it allowed to treat the child in a humiliating way. This is already stated in the European Netherland Civil Code. The bill that regulates the same for the BES has been submitted to Dutch Parliament today by Minister Dekker (Legal Protection) and State Secretary Paul Blokhuis (Health, Welfare and Sport). This is in line with the Administrative Agreement on tackling domestic violence and child abuse in the Caribbean Netherlands 2021-2024 between the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport and the authorities of the BES islands.


The law makes it clear that all forms of violence in education are prohibited. For example, a “pedagogical” tap, violent or threatening words, or physical or mental neglect. Grabbing a child firmly to prevent danger, for example to pull a child away from a dangerous situation, is allowed. This change in law can thus initiate discussions about how parents can raise children without violence. It can also provide space to discuss this with family, friends, other parents or with social workers. The bill thus contributes to the prevention of child abuse. Incidentally, child abuse was already punishable in the Caribbean Netherlands on the basis of the BES Penal Code.

The rules in the BES Civil Code do not only apply to parents, but also to other people who take care of and raise a child. Such as a guardian or foster parents, but also grandparents or uncles and aunts who are actually raising and caring for a child. The care for a child also remains the responsibility of the parents outside the home. If the parents notice that their children are being mistreated and abused by others, they must take action to stop it.

In addition, refraining from violence in education fits within the pedagogical visions established by the boards in the Caribbean Netherlands with the local organizations. The islands therefore support that this is written down in a law.

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