Child corporal punishment: spanking
Legal status of spanking.
All countries have laws that prohibit most physical assaults. But
these same laws often have "not withstanding" clauses that permit assaults:
||in a boxing ring,
||of reasonable intensity in a parent-child situation, and
||of reasonable intensity in a teacher-student situation.
For example, under California law,
"... a parent has the right to reasonably
discipline a child by physical punishment and may administer reasonable
punishment without being liable for battery. In order to be considered
disciplinary the punishment must:"
||Be necessary (i.e. there it must be in response to a child's negative
Be reasonable, not excessive, in the judgment of a third party -- e.g.
a Child Protective Services representative, or a law enforcement officer. 1
Whoever wrote the law seems to have assumed that
when a child exhibits negative behavior, there is no alternate to corporal
Current status of punishment by parents in North America:
As of 2009-MAY, corporal punishment by parents is allowed, with
U.S.: All 50 states and the District of Columbia permit the
corporal punishment of children. However, physical abuse is not allowed.
Unfortunately, thousands of parents start with spanking and escalate to
abuse every year.
Canada: All of the 10 provinces and three territories of Canada,
allow the use of "minor corrective force," but
it can only be "of a transient and trifling nature."
There are also minimum and maximum age limits. The
use of implements is forbidden; only the open hand can be used.
Current status of punishment in North American schools:
As of 2008-NOV, there is no uniformity concerning corporal punishment in schools:
U.S.: 21 states in the U.S. still allow corporal punishments in
schools. 2 The most recent state to abolish
school spanking is believed to be Delaware. Governor Minner signed a bill
during 2003-APR that bans the practice. 3
Canada: A 2004-JAN ruling by the
Supreme Court of Canada abolished corporal punishment in public and private
Current status in Europe:
Seventeen states ban corporal
punishment of children both in the home, school, and elsewhere:
Finland (1983), Norway (1987), Austria (1989), Cyprus (1994), Italy (1996), Denmark
(1997), Latvia (1998), Croatia (1999),
||Bulgaria and Germany (2000),
||Romania and Ukraine (2004),
Greece, Netherlands, and Portugal (2007).
As of 2009-MAY, the only European countries to allow corporal punishment in both the home and school
are the Czech Republic and France:
Corporal punishment prohibited in schools and the home
Corporal punishment prohibited in schools only
Corporal punishment not prohibited
The European Network of Ombudsmen for Children (ENOC) urges the
governments of all European countries, the European Union, the Council
of Europe and other European institutions and non-governmental organizations
concerned with children to work collectively and individually towards ending all
corporal punishment of children:
"As spokespeople for the children of Europe,
we believe that eliminating violent and humiliating forms of discipline is a
vital strategy for improving children's status as people, and reducing child
abuse and all other forms of violence in European societies. This is a long
overdue reform, with huge potential for improving the quality of lives and
family relationships.". 6
Current status in other countries:
There are relatively few non-European countries that ban corporal punishment.
||New Zealand, Uruguay, and Venezuela (2007)
||Costa Rica (2008).
Bans are currently being actively debated in many other countries.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
"Parents rights to discipline in California," Pacific Justice
"21 to Go!," at:
"Breaking News: Delaware becomes 28th state to ban school paddling,"
Press release from the National Coalition to Abolish Corporal Punishment in
Schools and the Center for Effective Discipline, 2003-APR-1 at:
"VENEZUELA: Second Latin American country to ban corporal punishment,"
2007-DEC-20, at: http://nospank.net/
The graphic is copied from Wikipedia at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/ This image is licensed under the Creative
Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.5 License. You are free to share and make
derivative works of the image under the conditions that you appropriately
attribute it, and that you distribute it only under a license identical to this
one. See: Official
license. Image updated from Wikipedia periodically.
"European Network of Ombudsmen for Children" (ENOC) at:
Copyright © 1995 to 2010 by Ontario Consultants on
Latest update: 2010-FEB-02
Author: B.A. Robinson